Case in point... there's a poll that says our elected officials should listen to the polls.... HUH? This from an article by Claude Salhani, UPI.
This is, of course, a poll in response to Dick Cheney's ABC interview March 19th where Martha Raddatz suggested his indifference to 2/3rds of American's being against the war in the latest polls was rather shocking. Cheney clarified: (on pg 3 of interview transcript):
No, I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls. Think about what would have happened if Abraham Lincoln had paid attention to polls, if they had had polls during the Civil War. He never would have succeeded if he hadn't had a clear objective, a vision for where he wanted to go, and he was willing to withstand the slings and arrows of the political wars in order to get there. And this President has been very courageous, very consistent, very determined to continue down the course we were on and to achieve our objective. And that's victory in Iraq, that's the establishment of a democracy where there's never been a democracy, it's the establishment of a regime that respects the rights and liberties of their people, as an ally for the United States in the war against terror, and as a positive force for change in the Middle East. That's a huge accomplishment.
Cheney's point is quite valid. While our officials are certainly aware of poll results (being as they are in our news face daily...) you cannot expect an electorate, educated by agenda driven media and not privvy to intelligence and military briefings, to form qualified opinions on America's policy.
And to demonstrate that "agenda driven media" point home a bit further, lets look at the quote provided below in the ABC accompanying story to the interview, as compared to the actual interview text provided above.
"You don't care what the American people think?" Raddatz asked the vice president.
"You can't be blown off course by polls," said Cheney, who is currently on a tour of the Middle East. "This president is very courageous and determined to go the course. There has been a huge fundamental change and transformation for the better. That's a huge accomplishment."
Yo? What happened to all that middle stuff analogy about if Lincoln used polls to determine the fate of the Civil War? Or did that make too much sense to include? Here lies the dangers of allowing media educated poll responders to dictate America's policy. They merely respond indignantly to what the media decides to share of the Cheney interview (casting a negative light), instead of reading the interview to see what Cheney really said.
Polls are nothing more than a reflection of the latest media headlines. And I don't need Americans, too lazy to read the source material, speaking for me. Let's face it. The majority of American's DON'T read the source material. If they did, all these "polls" we hear about would have seriously different results.
That "too much sense" bit (on what Cheney said) is what brings me back to the original point... the absurdity of a poll that says elected officials should listen to polls.
This latest poll conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org is part of a larger international research project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland. The study was conducted Jan. 18-27 on a total of 975 Americans by Knowledge Networks. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.2 percentage points. Here's what they found:
When it comes to making an important decision, 81 percent say government leaders "should pay attention to public opinion polls because this will help them get a sense of the public's views." But that is assuming government leaders really care what the public thinks, especially when they are not up for re-election.
Only 18 percent of respondents said "they should not pay attention to public opinion polls because this will distract them from deciding what they think is right."
Sounds impressive, eh? 81% say.... Folks, they asked 975 people. And based on what these 975 people say, government policies and direction should be tempered and guided by polls?? Why not go take a poll of the neighborhood and find out what you should make for dinner, even tho they are unaware there is a diabetic in the family... yeeassh.
This is so unbelievably stupid that I hardly know where to begin. If you genuinely believed that the American voice should be heard prior to major decisions, then the only way to get a true measure is to have a national poll, and require every body present in this country to express their opinion.
Yet even that does not negate the same problem - misinformation fed to us daily by media, and the refusal of the majority to research the source material for higher education.
But there is no doubt - 1000 people or so just doesn't cut the mustard as a viable slice of America. In fact, the only purpose of this poll might be for the DNC as proof positive that the average voter doesn't have the intelligence to make wise decisions for his/her own future.
Or at least 780 (the 81%) of them don't.