What are polls good for?
Why do people lend such weight to polls? Polls are worthless. If you think about it, an unbiased poll is impossible, and I'll explain why:
Poll 1: The go get em poll. This is when the pollsters come to you. They call your home or they knock on your door, and they ask you your opinions. Demographics destroy this kind of poll. Whoever is running the poll can control the outcome by simply targeting an areas that are already known to favor the candidate they want to portray as being in the lead. Even if they target one of these "battleground" states, they can target communities that are known to lean in one direction in order to create the impression that the entire state is leaning in one direction. And so these polls, more often than not, will represent the opinion of the one who ran the poll, not of the people as a whole.
Poll 2: The come and get it poll. This is the poll that's opened in a public place where anyone who wants to put their two cents in can come and do so. Again, demographics ruin these polls. Again, you can choose the locations and communities where you open these polls, and thus wield a degree of control over their outcome.
Poll 3: The internet poll. This is perhaps the most unbiased poll and uncontrollable poll, but it suffers from severe flaws of it's own. First, you can indeed control the results to some degree by opening the polls on left- or right-leaning websites. Second, this being the internet, those polls are the most vulnerable to fraud, and are wide open to individuals voting multiple times with no real measure that can be put in place to prevent or control such fraud. And finally, there's the idiot factor. The internet is full of idiots... we here on EBW are perhaps more painfully aware of this than most. :)
But seriously, what kinds of people do you think are going to sit around voting on internet polls, or any of the three polls if you think about it? The true intellectuals are having quiet political discussions and debates with their peers while they wait for the voting booths to open. You don't see many of them going out of their way to answer polls, because most of them realize precisely what this blog points out: Polls are worthless horseshit. Reagan called these people "the silent majority" and they have played a huge factor in every election, yet whenever an election rolls around everyone seems to forget about them.
Reagan was behind in the polls, but he won anyway. Only this last election, Kerry was ahead in the polls, but Bush pulled a win out of thin air come election time. So who will the silent majority side with this time? No poll can tell you the answer. In fact, no one at all can tell you the answer, because nobody knows!! The silent majority is SILENT!! So whenever you hear about who's ahead according to this poll or that, just remember the silent majority, and realize just how inaccurate those polls can be.