Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Poll Cat

[Update below]

I confess bafflement upon seeing this headline at USA Today:
Poll results show support for Iraq pullout, flag-burning amendment.
Because while the poll clearly shows that a large majority of Americans believe neither Congress nor Bush has a plan for getting out of Iraq, and that a majority favour withdrawing from Iraq within a year, a majority surveyed actually oppose the flag-burning amendment, 54-45%. I guess in the minds of USA Today headline writers, any non-zero value in the "support" column deserves a blaring announcment. Considering that there is some small, non-zero population of people in this country who are KKKers and think lynching blacks is probably fine justice, I wonder if USA Today would trumpet that in a headline like
Poll results show support for white hoods, burning crosses and lynching.
You may think that is extreme, which is the point, but you cannot disagree that if there is even 1% support, the headline would be accurate. Again, I really have no idea what USA Today is trying to do here unless they favour the pointlessly idiotic flag-burning amendment.

Digging a bit deeper into this poll, one comes across a rather odd manner of creature within the American political landscape. Pollsters asked this question of people who oppose the amendment:
If this amendment is passed, would you be very upset, somewhat upset, not too upset, or not at all upset?
Oddly enough, there is sizeable population of confused individuals who, while opposing the passage of the amendment would also be upset if the amendment failed to pass:
Oppose,                     Oppose,
upset if not passed upset if passed
21 20
Does this make any sense? 21% of those opposing the flag-burning amendment would be upset if the amendment was defeated. Do the pollsters ever stop to wonder about something like this? I can't even get my head around asking such a question. Perhaps this says something about an apparent confusion in the questioning because it sure as hell makes no sense at all.

It seems about time that other sorts of questions ought to asked by pollsters. Perhaps something along the lines of,
With the recent, worthless and completely artifical political manueuver seen in the flag burning amendment, do you think Congress is populated by a bunch of insane jackasses?
Now there's a question whose answer I would enjoy seeing.

Update: The ridiculous charade embraced by far too many in Congress, otherwise known as the flag-burning amendment, failed on the Senate floor by a single vote. Perhaps now Congress can return to "the people's work" and stop humping the backsides of the GOP base. What an embarrassment that this was even raised.


Blogger Musclemouth said...

Yes, there is a tendency in the media to always "balance" the argument. This means, of course, that if someone says gravity exists, the media will scramble to find someone who opposes this.

I believe this tendency is a mass misinterpretation of the "equal time" principle, which is supposed to ensure that political candidates get equal time to voice their opinions and state their case for getting elected.

Of course, the original principle has been flushed down the toilet, while the misinterpreted version is thriving.

I swear, it's an all-out war on truth. Not that the individual anti-truth soldiers necessarily realize this. Does a drop of rain understand that it is part of a monsoon? Nope.

2:06 PM  

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