Presidential Poll Schmuckery

There won't be a Presidential Primary for about a year, and I'm already sick of the campaign cycle. I'm even more fed up than usual with the polls and pollsters. As my undergraduate degree is in Political Science, I tend to discount most polling, as the fundamental premise for the method is faulty. I don't think 1,000 phone calls made to people in the Northeasten part of the country are in any way an indicative sample of how America votes. How often does the media's early annointed actually get the nomination anyway? And why does Howard Dean and John McCain keep entering my mind?

But back to samples and questions. Most of the time when you see these polls, they just poll 1,000 "random" people, not even "likely voters". I think just under 40% of eligible voters voted in the 2006 election. If you're throwing out a pool of people who may run for President to get a general sense of name recognition, which is all you can get at this point, this 40% is the only logical basis for a polling sample. The first poll question should be simple, "Did you vote in the 2006 election?" If the person answers no, then you thank them and move on to the next person. If they did, then ask who they'd choose for President...but don't make them choose from your list. Given that most folks can't name all 9 Supreme Court Justices, I'm sure you'd get some pretty interesting answers.

However, I think the real question at this point is who will get the party's nomination. The last number I read was from 2006, that of the 38 states that hold primaries, only something like 7-8% of folks eligible turned out for any given primary. Do you know who these people are? These are the activists, the far left and far right of Democrats and Republicans. These people pick the candidates that everyone else chooses from, so these people should be your only proper sample.

Want a more accurate poll? Question 1 should be, "In how many of the last 3 party primaries/caucuses/events did you vote or participate? If the person on the other end of the phone cannot come up with the answer "2" or possibly "3", then they are not qualified to be part of your sample and polling should stop. The next question should be something to the effect of, "if the Presidential primary was held tomorrow, for whom would you vote? Now, that's how you find out who your candidate will be, and that information is more credible.

All this aside, I personally wish they'd just stop already. It is too damned early. And since I'm coming at this as a political junkie, I can't even imagine what your average American Idol voter is thinking about all this. Ah, hell, he's probably paying about as much attention to it all as I am to American Idol.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


South America’s resurgent left is a threat to liberty

Olavo de Carvalho

BrookesNews.Com, march 5, 2007

Since my arrival in this hospitable country in May 2005, I have been trying to explain to Americans that Lula would never be able — much less willing — to help them to stop Hugo Chavez. I have spread this obvious truth in lectures delivered to audiences of politicians, journalists, strategical analysts and intelligence experts. Though some of them agree with me, the prevalent opinion remains unaltered: Lula is America’s best hope in Latin America. Even now that attorney-general Alberto Gonzales had to swallow an explicit refusal from the Brazilian government to serve as a muzzle for the Venezuelan mad dog, nobody from Washington has admitted that the Brazilian fruitcake hidden somewhere in the Virginian brushwood was right after all.

I have been explaining, in a more general way, that Lula would never help the Americans to do anything against the Latin-American radical Left, and especially not against the FARC, the Colombian narcoguerrillas who inject huge annual amounts of cocaine into both the Brazilian and American markets. As to the many Muslim terrorists sheltered in the Brazilian southern border, there is no need to say that the Brazilian government will not support any action against them: it does not even recognize that they exist.

Lula is the founder and one of the masterminds of the “Sao Paulo Forum” (I will call it the SPF), the strategic headquarters of the Latin-American revolutionary Left. The SPF, which gathers both legal parties (Communist Parties of Cuba, Venezuela, etc) and criminal organizations (FARC, MIR, ELN, Sendero Luminoso), is stronger than any singular Latin-American government, if we take into account that it has at its service dozens of terrorist gangs and the armies of the countries governed by its member-parties. The Brazilian army, reduced to tatters since the Latin-American demilitarization campaign inaugurated thirty years ago under the personal guidance of president Jimmy Carter, is unable to face a single branch of the SPF, such as the FARC, and much less the SPF as a whole.

The Brazilian military is now so deeply conscious of its own weakness that its old anti-communist pride is giving way to opportunistic accommodations with the radical Left, using “nationalism” (bitter anti-Americanism) as common ground for their unholy alliance (you cannot imagine the amount of military hate I have been attracting against myself for writing about this). Lula, Lula’s party, and Lula’s government are nothing without the support of the SPF, both domestically and in Latin America.

In 1990, Lula created that organization while facing near ruin in his political career. And later on he became a successful politician with the help of the FSP. If he betrays it, he will not stay alive for five seconds. In order to evaluate the depth of Lula’s party commitment to the SPF and to its self-proclaimed goal of “reconquering in Latin America all that was lost in Eastern Europe,” you should only read these lines of the message sent by the FARC to the SPF’s 13th general assembly, which took place in San Salvador last January 7th:

“In 1990 the socialist field was falling apart; all its structures were as weak as a castle of cards, and the enemies of socialism were celebrating nonstop. Theories like “the End of History” were being proposed, and many revolutionaries around the world were astonished, not knowing what had gone wrong and enabled such a catastrophe. Utopia was being dissipated and hopelessness took over innumerable movement leaders.

Cuba stood alone, enduring the worst crisis ever experienced by any other country. Imperialism wrongly believed that the moment had come to put an end to socialism in the Americas… It was in that moment that the PT (Lula’s Workers’ Party) launched the formidable proposal to create the Sao Paulo Forum… This initiative, which quickly caught on, was a lifesaver and a hope that not everything was lost. How right we were! Sixteen years have passed and the political scene today is totally different.”

In short: the communist movement was drowning, the Workers'’Party — Lula’s party — saved it, and did it under Lula’s personal inspiration. Every single one of the SPF member parties agrees with that statement. No matter how much the World Economic Forum may praise him for his alleged “conversion to capitalism,” Lula is a hero of Latin-American communism and will not exchange this title for that of a dead traitor.

There is no substantial contradiction between running a capitalist economy while draining its energies to feed a growing communist movement and to support the arrangements for a continental “war of the whole people” against the USA, as planned by Hugo Chavez. Lula’s government can be defined, alas, by that two-headed strategy wisely grounded on the mutual independence between economy and conspiracy.

Now that George W. Bush visits his so-called “good friend” in Brasilia, March 8th, the good friend’s party and his many allies in the radical Left prepare to receive the American president with the largest and harshest anti-American manifestation ever seen in Brazil. In the privacy of his cabinet at the presidential residence in Brasilia, Lula will play America’s friend while his own subordinates and followers will be right outside the palace shouting “death to Yankee imperialism.” George W. Bush will do his best to pretend that the protests come from Lula's foes. I hope he does not seriously believe it.

5:15 PM  

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