Extreme Liberal's Blog

Where Liberalism Is Alive and Well!

What The American People Want!

Whenever I hear anyone say “this is what the American people want”, I immediately discount what they have to say. “The American people” is made up of people of all sorts of different beliefs, liberal, conservative, moderate, libertarian, socialist, fascist, capitalist, communist…we have a myriad of opinions that can’t be boiled down to one question on a robo-poll.  It is never accurate to generalize what America believes or wants because “America” is not monolithic in its thinking. At the health care summit we kept hearing the Republicans repeat that the American people don’t want this bill. This poll from Newsweek (and polls are the problem here) shows that when you explain the details of the plan, they do support it.

When asked about Obama’s plan (without being given any details about what the legislation includes), 49 percent opposed it and 40 percent were in favor. But after hearing key features of the legislation described, 48 percent supported the plan and 43 percent remained opposed.

Either way, it’s not a huge margin and no one should claim what the American people want based on it. If one were honest, they would say something like a “small plurality” of the American people prefer, but even that is really not honest since the margin of error for that particular poll is +/- 3.6 % which means it could be as much as a 7.2 % swing either way. Who knows what the American people want? Morning Joe Scarborough is the worst at using polls to try to beat up politicians and put pressure on them. Just this morning on “Press the Meat” with David Gregory, David had a run of questions that were all laced with “what the American people want” or “going against the will of the American people”…..which American people? All of them? Or just those 200 who answered the poll question you are using to make your gross generalization?

I also have a problem with populist governing, let’s take a poll and then decide how we want to proceed. Let’s take a complex, detailed problem with all sorts of minutia and ask the general public what they think about it. How fucking stupid is that? This phenomenon lays open the opportunity for misinformation campaigns, distortions, lobbyist money, all directed at swaying the public so when they take that slanted poll (see link in the next paragraph), they can get the results they want. It becomes a battle of propaganda, who can con the American people the best.

Polls are becoming weapons, just ask Vic Snyder who decided not to run after getting ambush polled by Janey Hamsher. The tactics used by the supposed progressive Jane Hamsher and her organization is just one example of how methodology by pollsters can have a huge influence on results. So once again, how useful is the information gleaned from polls considering all the ways the numbers can be influenced or interpreted? It’s crap.

Now when it comes to election polls, as you get closer to an election the results start to get more accurate when done by reputable organizations with sound methodology. You always have the partisan polling groups on either extreme, but these serve more to try to sway public opinion using the “bandwagon” effect. They try to swing momentum one way or another by upsetting the ongoing narrative. So I guess polls serve a purpose as we get closer to election day, but really to the extent that they do sway opinion, it isn’t a good thing. Shouldn’t people vote for their candidate based on issues and leadership, not because it’s all the rage.

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February 28, 2010 - Posted by | Health Care Reform, Jane Hamsher, Media, Morning Joe, MSM, Politics |

7 Comments »

  1. Of course if people think they are getting “free” healthcare, they will, on the face of it, say it sounds good. If you then talk about lines, dictatorship of who your doctor will be, and dying while waiting, they will soon see reality. Nothing is free. We pay for such things via vast tax dollars and/or debt.

    polls as weapons? They don’t have to be. If you are doing what is best for people, the polls will eventually swing your way. Why hide from the American people? Why is it that when you have a “Bipartisan Healthcare Summit” people see you as petulant children who stutter, stammer, and cut people off.

    People know what they see. The believe what they feel. They know that spending 10 times what they make doesn’t work in their own lives, so why should it in Govt? Further, they understand that money that is being spent is coming directly from their own children. Liberalism? If so then Liberalism is horribly selfish.

    Comment by DreadPirateRoberts | February 28, 2010 | Reply

  2. Your first paragraph should read “If you lie to people and tell them a bunch of bullshit, they will soon see MY reality, which is based on a pack of lies.” Because that’s what your paragraphs is, a bunch of lies and extreme speculation.

    Second paragraph….you didn’t get my point apparently, swinging public opinion should be the goal of politicians, it should be about doing what is right for their constituents and the country.

    Your final paragraph, well…liberals do a much better job at being fiscally responsible. Read some of my previous posts on the subject, the facts are out there for everyone to see. The health care reform package will lower the national debt, lower it. The Congressional Budget Office scored it and I guess you’ll probably say you don’t believe them. Which is the easiest way to keep believing what you believe, by denying anything that runs counter to your world view.

    Comment by ExtremeLiberal | February 28, 2010 | Reply

    • Liberals are more fiscally responsible? That is laughable. Every Democrat administration has done little more than spend to the limit, then cry about how we need to “pay” to bring down the deficit. Then they spend some more. Obama has spent more in 1 year than Bush did in 8. Fiscal responsibility is nothing he has ever believed in.

      Comment by DreadPirateRoberts | February 28, 2010 | Reply

  3. :)

    Comment by ExtremeLiberal | February 28, 2010 | Reply

  4. Hey dreadpirateroberts….SHOW US PROOF IT’S YOU REPUBLICANS WHO ARE THE FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE ONES! Man, how funny. *shaking head* Every time our nation has a republican at the helm our nation goes bankrupt and into recession!

    Republicans spend like drunken sailors. Look what Michael Steele of the RNC is doing right now:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2010/02/livin_large_with_michael_steel.html

    Whenever a republican is near large amounts of money they just want to spend it or steal it! Remember the Savings & Loan scandals? All perpetrated by republicans!

    Comment by KayInMaine | March 1, 2010 | Reply

  5. Jim, it is laughable that the republicans keep saying they represent ALL Americans when really they represent the small fringe of America. As of right now, it’s the Democrats who have the most registered voters, then the Independents, and then in dead last, it’s the republicans! :lol: They’re a 3rd party!

    Comment by KayInMaine | March 1, 2010 | Reply

  6. Very true, Kay, and the media seems to be playing along with them. Republicans are masters at diverting attention and getting the media to play along. Unfortunately, this tactic does work on some of the idiots in the country, which seems to be the republican base these days. Dumb and dumber on a national level. :)

    Comment by ExtremeLiberal | March 1, 2010 | Reply


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