FRONT PAGE MAGAZINE — The 24 hour news cycle has driven the demand for more “talking heads” that can appear on news programs to provide information, perspectives and, all too often (unfortunately), utter nonsense.
Computer programmers have an acronym, GIGO (Garbage-In, Garbage-Out), that essentially says, ‘if you begin with wrong information the results will be no less flawed’: This is the problem with polls.
Surveys and polls are not new, but today nearly every industry depends on polls, surveys and focus groups to make decisions about how to conduct business to maximize the potential for success.
Consequently, our political leaders often stake out or modify their positions on issues to parallel what pollsters claim represents the concerns of likely voters.
When the pollsters get it wrong, the people who make decisions based on those polls will also–of necessity–get it wrong.
A person running from a mob is not leading that mob. He is simply running for his life. This is, all too often, what passes for “leadership” in America today. This is why so many candidates are said to “waffle,” going back and forth on their stated positions on critical issues. They are guiding their positions on the results of polls that may not even be providing accurate information.
Politicians often assume positions out of a fear of losing votes and, hence, an election. Instead of being true leaders who have a clear vision and, through demonstration of their leadership, convince people to vote for their vision, they chase voters―pandering to what they think voters want.
I have come to refer such political “leaders” as “human metronomes” or “human weathervanes.” Not unlike tumbleweeds, they go in the direction that perceived public opinion takes them.
All too often, the polls, upon which so many decisions are made, are fatally flawed.