Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Bikini Poll

Tom asked me to get back in the game here. I tend to look at a postulation from every angle of attack. I over-think things. I have become much more busy than this summer, so my writing for enjoyment has slacked off. Tom encouraged me to focus on fun, brief and poignant. That made me think of chicks in bikinis.

As Americans we tend to take something and completely remake it to suit our needs. The bikini is a great example. The word bikini came into the national lexicon because of military testing of nuclear devices. We completely remade the word because every woman wants to have her looks be the equivalent of an atom bomb. So in America, it’s all about looks.

Politics, it has been said, is a beauty contest for the ugly. To judge good looks, a cottage industry of polling sprouted up. It served a need of supplying an accurate gage of the likelihood of success for any particular candidate. The pollsters that obtained accurate reads of sentiment got repeat business.

Polls, it think, are being completely remade. It is no longer a cottage industry. Polls, rather than the message of the national candidates, have become the news. The market demand for them is no longer simply a gage of potential political success. National poling organizations vie for national attention because once the polling brand has been established, the “burger flipping” part of the business comes in through the door. Every campaign, no matter how small, should use polls.

The market for national polling, however, has become national media organizations.  Media outlets portray themselves as unbiased reporters of news. The reality, as we all know, is that national media outlets are far from unbiased.  They are in the business of increasing circulation, not accurate reporting of the news. People love a good fight, so reporting about conflict in an election is a natural subject for them.

National polling organizations, as a result, tailor their polls to appeal to national media. The polls appear an unbiased report of sentiment, so that they are "newsworthy."  You can play with sampling representation to make it look close or not. Are Democrats in the same proportion to Republicans and independents as in 2008 becomes the tell-all sampling question on the bottom line. You can even take their results and “un-skew” them. All national polls are, really, are market penetraters for a strange new American business. Neither Presidential campaign uses them. They have their own polling.

So I’m calling shenanigans on polling. Americans have completely changed what polling is. After all, that is what we do.


ikaika said...

welcome back Frithguild!

it seems that the Rise of the polling agencies are also used to lend credence to "Poly Sci" as a legitimate field of study.

It reminds me of that dialogue from Harold and Maude when Harold's mom was interviewing suitable dates for her son:
You are at the university?
- Yes, I am.

- What are you studying?

- Poli Sci with a minor in Home Ec.

Poli Sci...?

Political Science.

It's all about what's going on.

chess said...

Frith.. You are like a fresh fritter on a sunny morning!!.. Please let me know when you put out your tell all book on the black ops you just finished.
I see polls as nothing more than Darwin saying Niches are meant to be filled. Doesnt mean they are a good thing but just filled..

chess said...

Picasso, Matisse, Monets stolen from Dutch museum in daring heist...

Frith you have been a busy little bee.

Tom said...

Tom asked me to get back in the game here.


Imagine me pacing the center line of the Trireme with a bullwhip with Frith and Ikaika each tugging mightily on an oar. And the boat, for reasons that passeth all our understanding, seems to only go in one long slow loping circle. Maybe we need someone to take the left side after all.

Well... I guess going in a circle is nice too.

Of course, we're all happy to see the return of our prodigal frith.

frithguild said...

We Americans are pretty amazing actually. We have turned the name of an uninhabitable irradiated place into the very image of feminine beauty. These things the MSM keeps putting into their headlines are not polls, but who knows what to call things anymore. Maybe I'll just call them bikinis from now on.

The Rasmussen Swing State Tracker Bikini just reports that, "In the 11 swing states, the president earns 49% of the vote to Mitt Romney’s 47%. One percent (1%) likes another candidate in the race, and two percent (2%) are undecided. This is the first time Obama has led on the daily Swing State Survey since October 8."

chess said...

Yea. Saw that dammit... Frith I hope you are ready to walk us through a 10 state hanging chad recount

Tom said...

BTW, when it comes to blog posts and chicks in bikinis, for my money it's very difficult to get too brief.

It's possible, but not easy.