Scott Douglas’ Terse Bloviation

Poll: 100% of Me Thinks Political Polls Are Nonsense

A recent CNN poll reports that a majority of Americans think that money from the federal stimulus package has been wasted. Because, you know, everyone has a firm grasp of how the money was allocated and how it’s been spent. Just once it would be swell if pollsters asked follow-up questions like, “You’ve replied that the money is being wasted. Can you list three programs receiving this money and detail the ways in which the money has been wasted?”

Twenty-five years ago Neil Postman wrote this about the Iranian hostage crisis in Amusing Ourselves to Death:

Nonetheless, everyone had an opinion about this event, for in America everyone is entitled to an opinion, and it is certainly useful to have a few when a pollster shows up. But these are opinions of a quite different order from eighteenth- or nineteenth-century opinions. It is probably more accurate to call them emotions rather than opinions, which would account for the fact that they change from week to week, as the pollsters tell us.

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1 Comment so far

  1. Emily Chesterson January 29th, 2010 10:29 pm

    The results of the CNN poll may be the reason for the network’s latest ‘efforts’ (through multiple 1+-hour blocks of programming) to dissect the stimulus package … included is the classic huge stack of binders representing the thousands of pages of legislation with the question, can government really work amid all of the law’s minutiae and earmarks?

    hmm, I wonder if there’ll be a second poll after the CNN program is complete that includes the follow-up question proffered …

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