Thursday, January 17, 2008

Here's an Idea - How About You Poll This!


I would never attend a sporting event where I knew the final score before the game even started. I would never go to the movies to see an excellent mystery unfold if I knew the shocking outcome in advance. I would also never use a public restroom at a seafood restaurant if I knew the majority of patrons were suffering the effects of ingesting raw clams brimming with salmonella poisoning. So therefore, why would I vote in an election if I was besieged ad nauseum with multiple daily polls telling me in advance not only who won, but exactly why they won and by exactly how much they won?

But nowadays, virtually every electronic and print media outlet in the country insists on doing just that by cramming daily polling results down our throats. You would have thought after the polling information showing Barack Obama cruising to an easy double digit victory over Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary proved to be so completely wrong, the poll takers and poll reporters would have pulled back. Clearly, however, that's not the case. I don't need to take a poll to figure out these professional polling organizations are making a boat load of cash to telephone people all day and night. The poll takers then berate the public with a barrage of questions as to what their intentions are going to be on the day of the election.

I've never received a call from a pollster, but if I ever did, I would do everything I could think of to answer the questioner in the most ridiculous yet believable manner. Who would I really hurt by acting the clown? My vote is my vote. I have zero obligation or interest in being held up as a representative for countless and anonymous fellow voters. I can barely even watch the coverage on television anymore of these elections. The modern day Anchorman of the airwaves is literally bursting out of his or her pants or pantsuit to declare a winner within three seconds of the polls closing. If the polls close at say 9:00 pm in a given state, and I don't know who won instantaneously, would I needlessly suffer and feel the urge to reach for the nearest hammer and start pounding my skull into sawdust? I don't think so. I believe I can wait for a while.

Election coverage is the sole exception to the entire concept on which television news is predicated. Rule #1 is to stretch 5 minutes of actual news into 60 minutes of broadcast news. If you are fortunate to have two actual newsworthy stories, you show one of them as soon as the broadcast begins. You hold back story #2 until the end of the broadcast. You of course do this with nonstop "promos" throughout the show by promising to show this breaking news right after these words. Keep in mind this earth shattering breaking news usually involves Britney, Paris, Lindsay or Nicole. On one of the rare days, one or more of these empty "spit bucket" brains don't break news, somewhere on the planet there's video of an 800 pound gorilla nursing a piglet or a 106 year old driver stepping on the wrong foot pedal as they drive right through a Department of Motor Vehicle Office in order to renew their driver's license for six more years.

But when it comes to primary results in Iowa or New Hampshire where literally one percent of the total delegates needed to secure the party nomination are at stake, thousands of polls are being conducted prior to and after you finish voting. This is necessary I suppose, so verbose, self aggrandizing nitwits like Chris Mathews can hyperventilate on the air about which candidate won, who lost, who tied, who will benefit, who will go on, will go off and who will declare a stunning victory despite finishing a distant third with nearly 11% of the total vote.

I would like to see one election where we try something completely revolutionary and unheard of in modern America. We take NO polls. We take NO surveys. We take NO prisoners. We sit back and leave the electorate the hell alone. We allow them their privacy. We allow them to eat dinner without pollsters calling to ask a few questions. We get out of their face. In other words, we allow them to vote in peace. When the polls close and the last vote has been tallied, we sit back and wait until all the votes are miscounted and then report the results. Yeah, that will happen the day when we elect the first Hamster-American President of the United States. A lot of you are thinking we already have a hamster as president. Wrong, I mean an actual hamster named Fluffy. Not somebody with the hamster sized brain named George W.

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