JIM CREES: Enough with the poll-ish jokes

63 percent of Americans believe ...

Polling is simply trolling.

And so ...by way of explanation ...

Before beginning this week’s harangue, I feel there is a need to explain something penned in last week’s column.

In a recent poke at some evangelical supporters of Mitt Romney, I twice noted that President Barack Obama was a person subscribing to the Islamic faith.

I first wrote:

“But, consider the option. If some of the evangelical leadership world don’t go with Mitt, they’ll need to support a Nigerian Muslim already dragging this country down into Socialism.”

Followed by:

“Although it hasn’t been specifically noted, according to the convoluted commentary of many evangelical pundits this is the first election cycle testing one non-Christian a (Mormon) against another non-Christian (a Muslim.)”

These comments threw not a few readers into a tizzy.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I was simply trying to use sarcasm as a literary device. It apparently didn’t work. (I may not be as good a writer as I think!)

Let me go on the record saying I fully, whole-heartedly, and without reservation believe Barack Obama is not only a born-again Christian, (by his own confession), but I also am 1000 percent confident he was born in the United States.

(I can’t help but notice that no one seems to have caught on to the fact that I mentioned Obama as being Nigerian born. The popular conspiracy theory is that he was born in Kenya, not Nigeria. Oh well. That didn’t work either.)

I was trying to be a bit satirical. I guess I should stick with ‘grumpy’ or ‘cranky’ as a literary device. I seem to do better in that style.

And now ...

With the presidential debates having come to a blessed end, the pollsters have taken fully over and are having a field day.

Frankly, I have never believed the polls, do not believe them today, and will not believe them in the future.

If there was one single polling organization carrying out careful, extensive and exacting surveys, I might consider the data. Instead, everybody and their sister-in-law carry out polling surveys and then offer up “definitive’ results.

To wit, one day, (or evenhours), after the last debate, a third of the polls basically had President Obama in the lead, a third had Gov. Romney ahead of the pack, and a third suggested the presidential race was a dead tie.

What is more surprising is that there are some people out there who claim to believe only one specific poll or survey. Their chosen polling organization, they believe, is the only credible one. All others are all charlatans.

It’s interesting, but not too much so.

Look, in the U.S. today there is a 24-hour news cycle. Back in “The Day,” broadcast news people only needed to fill a half hour, or even a full hour of news each day. They did so largely by offering very concise reviews of the most recent news - not at all unlike what newspapers were doing in print.

Then, programs such as 60 Minutes began expanding the turf - not only reporting the actual news but introducing viewers to the people and places behind the news.

With the creation of the 24-hour news programs, the need arose to not only report the news, but also, more dangerously, to create the news.

So ...polling and surveys, no matter how silly and inaccurate, suddenly have become the stuff of deep analysis and commentary.


Well, the folks at PlanetPOV have produced something they call Stupid Is As Stupid Polls.

Now THIS is worth some consideration.

In polling, the PoliticsPOV folks discovered:

Over 70 percent of Americans were for the war in Iraq before they were against it.

Almost 60 percent of Americans approved of torture in the guise of “enhanced interrogation techniques”.

67 percent of Americans think Global Warming is not a threat in their lifetime.

40 percent of Americans believe man was created by God less than 10,000 years ago.

Over 50 percent of Americans believe it’s fine for teachers to lead prayers in school.

1 in 5 Americans still believe President Obama is a Muslim

4 in 10 Americans still think the Affordable Care Act contains Death Panels.

As late as 2007, 41 percent of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11 and almost half believed he had weapons of mass destruction.

1 in 5 Americans were sure the Sun revolved around the Earth.

75 percent of Americans could name two of the seven dwarfs but less than 25 percent could name two Supreme Court Justices.

63 percent of young Americans can’t find Iraq on a map and 90 percent can’t find Afghanistan.

37 percent of Americans mislabeled where America was on a map.

Only 40 percent of Americans can name the three branches of government but 60 percent of Americans can name the Three Stooges.

About 1 in 3 Americans think freedom of religion does not apply to religions that are not “mainstream”.

Half of Americans don’t know Christianity came from Judaism.

1 in 4 Americans think we won our independence from another country other than England.

30 percent of Americans can’t remember what year 9/11 occurred.

This, by the way, is not a bad joke.

These are real poll