Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Sarah Palin Poll

A few days ago, I received this email from a very Right member of my extended family:

PBS Poll on Sarah Palin - Takes 2 seconds !


I am not what the author of this email would call one of the "clear thinking people" (and doubt he/she realized that leaving out the hyphen that should be between "clear" and "thinking" transforms the meaning of that phrase to "people who think and are also translucent"), because I think Gov. Palin is woefully underqualified, dogmatic, abrasive and easily-manipulated. So, I went to the link and clicked the button signifying my feeling that no, Palin is not qualified to be VP.

But the thing stuck in my craw for a while. I told TBO about it last night and conjectured that the desire to influence the results of the poll was particular to the right. I even went so far as to call the manipulation of this unscientific measure of reality part-and-parcel of Right ideology, as well-versed in reality-avoidance as they are, and suggested that this was something the Left, with our many tribes of focused interests, is less susceptible to. Such email campaigns wouldn't work on the Left, I ventured, because too many Letfies would have reservations about passing the thing along, and then made some drunken analogy to PC and Mac users and viruses.

Now I find that this was not the case. In fact, there were mobilization efforts on both sides, with wild swings in the results as either side crashed the servers before it settled into a 50/50 split (which should have been a tip-off).

And this saddens me, not because I find the effort to skew the poll results a silly waste of time that apparently my compatriots on the Left have accepted. It's what the desire to change affect the poll says about our political system. That this uncontextualized, issue-less metric would be given so much weight as to actually encourage mobilization efforts speaks to how shallowly much of the electorate actually engages. We have learned that presidential elections aren't about substantive issues but which side effectively projects their view of reality into the world.

I mean, really, a fucking yes/no/maybe online poll? It has about as much bearing on anything as that Sorting Hat quiz I took that kept putting me into Slytherin.


Deni said...

Eeewwww, you're in Slytherin?

I get what you mean about the reality-avoidence on the right. I've been emailing my mother and brother with links and pastes to things like articles that rebute the falsehoods about Obama and the videos of the "Obama is a terrorist" McCain rally crowds.

My mother sent me an email telling me to stop and that she doesn't even open them, she knows who she's voting for and NOTHING (her caps) will change her mind.

This from a women who happily forwarded the chain email with all of the made-up quotes said to be from Michelle Obama's thesis paper. You know, the one that basically claims that Michelle Obama wants to kill whitey?

Anyway, I'll probably post something more about that 'cause I'm gonna need to blow off the steam.

the beige one said...

Michelle doesn't want to kill whitey?

Shit, they just lost my vote.

Verdant Earl said...

Nothing to do with this post, but did you kids read this:

Now the right is really reaching for an Ayers/Obama connection. Sad.

Verdant Earl said...

Oops..the link didn't work.


Anonymous said...

ha you'll love the very in-depth and thoroughly foolproof poll i've linked to on my site then. :) it was just something i found in a quick search on how the rest of the world feels about the election and which candidate could help america's reputation or further deepen hatred.

My World Vote

i'm ok with polls for fun but i don't trust outcomes as far as i could throw them (and i can't throw very far).

hey b.e. earl, i read that link the other day too, it's spread like wild fire throughout republican blogs, and is as reputable as fox news. this is making me absolutely crazy.

and p.s. Deni...we feel your pain.

Anonymous said...

oh sigh. i just went through the NOW website to look at their programming. i hadn't heard of their show before. it's a gentler fox news. with equally intelligent commentators. can you hear my screams from all the way down here?? what have i gotten myself into?

i guess pbs airs whatever will pay the bills and ends up being no different than the major networks. i've enjoyed frontline and was looking forward to them airing a doc on both candidates this Tuesday night but after seeing the previews i'm a little worried.

The Choice 2008

Deni said...

Thanks for that link Earl. Man, they are really grabbing at straws now (is that the right phrase?).

Verdant Earl said...

Grabbing at straws, grasping at straws...whatever works man! ;)

Deni said...

Grasping!! I knew I wasn't quite using the right word.

Smoooochie said...

The funny thing is that John McCain would even be able to vote on a poll like this because he doesn't use e-mail so he would likely not know about it unless one of his minions happened to come upon it and tell him. Even then, they would most likely have to pull up the website for him.