Polls Give Voters the Shaft

I've noticed in all the fixation on Joe Lieberman's race in Connecticut, that no one — and I mean no one — is talking about the Republican candidate in that race.

You know why? Because he isn't polling well.

I'm being kind: He's not polling at all.

He registers low single digits. He's a non-event — easy to forget. And easier still for a Lieberman-sympathetic White House to forget.

Trust me, I have no horse in this race, I'm just troubled by what's become of this race and so many others, based not on the sentiment of voters on Election Day, but of a smattering few months before Election Day.

Whole careers are made or doomed based on such surveys. Today, they dictate where the money goes and where it does not — never mind they've often been wrong.

Tracking surveys on Election Day 2004 had John Kerry the winner. Nice tracking.

Polls in 1976 had Jimmy Carter trailing at least six better known Democratic names. The better names didn't pan out. Jimmy did.

Ditto in 1992, when a guy named Bill Clinton polled behind "No Preference" in early tracking surveys.

I remember polls back in 1979 showed Ronald Reagan was the most beatable Republican for Jimmy Carter. It was quite the other way around when the two were matched up in 1980.

All I'm saying is that if any of those men followed the initial tracking surveys, they'd be off the track, out of the race and not even footnotes in history.

What troubles me is how some early and quaint snapshot surveys are deciding who stays and who goes in a race before a single vote is counted.

I think it's bad not only for the candidates who don't poll well, but for the rest of us, who aren't polled at all.

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