Thursday, February 21, 2008

Take This Poll. Please.

Who the hell is answering political surveys these days? With three polls out in the last two weeks and all three showing different results, I have to wonder what’s going on. As dishonest as I think polling is, fundamentally, I don’t think they’d outright lie. But something is up.
See, I got up this morning and read in the Globe & Mail that the Tories were rising again in popular support such that they were in “majority government territory” at 39 percent. Well, you can imagine that pretty much ruined my day. I considered climbing back into bed until spring with a plan to renounce my citizenship and move to somewhere warmer, somewhere where I don’t speak the language and can maybe even forget that my fellow humans are dumb as posts.
But then it seems that the Grope & Wail poll is contradicted by a Harris-Decima poll, which shows the Conservatives and the Liberals running neck and neck, 35 to 33 percent, respectively.
And just last week, an Ipsos-Reid poll had the Tories dropping from 37 to 36 percent with the Liberals stuck at 29 percent.
As for the NDP, well, let’s just not talk about that because it’s ugly.
Anyway, what I really wanted to know is my original question: who is taking surveys? I have a theory that the only people who take surveys are the kind of people who call up talk radio to rant about immigrants. The rest of us with caller display don’t answer. Hell, is it just me who gets at least three phone calls per day from telephone solicitors? I’m not even polite enough to say “no thanks” any more – I just hang up right away.
I’m sure not all of those phone calls are from people who want to clean our carpet (don’t have any) or offer us a “free vacation” if we just go to a time-share condo seminar. Some of them must be from Ms. (or Mr.) Ipsos-Reid herself calling for my highly valued opinion. So, the only way to get included into one of these so-called “scientific” polls is to listen to every solicitor who calls. And who does that? Not the kind of people we want to be shaping our government or our national political discourse.
I don’t have any answers to how to solve this other than banning telephone soliciting (please, God). While we’re at it maybe we could ban stickers on fruit.
However, I do have some advice for the sad sack Liberals: Hey dummies, if what you’re doing isn’t helping you succeed, maybe you want to think about what you’re doing wrong. The Martin-Chretien civil war certainly took its toll but you know, when you end up on the same side of the political fence as the Tories on every important question of the day… well, let’s just say that people prefer the devil they know. And people just don’t know Stephane Dion because the guy doesn’t have a personality. What’s to know. Even Michael Ignatieff’s torture-is-ok-when-it-doesn't-leave-marks line at least makes him memorable – ghoulish, yes, but memorable.
As for Bob Rae – did I mention the NDP’s poll numbers? When was the last time they were really respectable in the polls? That’s right, before Bob Rae was premier of Ontario. I’d think twice before taking his advice on anything other than a legal career.
But here’s the crown jewel of my suggestions to save the Liberals from themselves: kick out John Manley – not for being a turncoat, after all his views on Afghanistan are in line with the Liberals views, it just so happens that the Liberals views are in line with the Tories. No, kick him out because he’s an ass-kissing weasel who was too lazy to even work for this promotion to UN special envoy to Afghanistan for which the Tories are apparently mooting him. After all, he plagiarized most of the so-called Manley Commission report directly from an earlier article he wrote. But more importantly, kick him out to show that the Liberals are going to take a radically different position than the Tories on Afghanistan – one that is in line with the views of the vast majority of Canadians. Of course, I only know that because of polling, which is to say, I don’t know anything. But I do have a suspicion that Canadians would thank you for offering them a choice other than Tory lite. It can't be any worse than what you've got right now, whichi is Stephane Dion listening to Bob Rae listening to the polls. Need I say more?
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