Polls are (still) dead

I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Polls are dead.

The UK just had their election. I understand that the early call of the election was done on the back of huge polling support numbers in favour of the Tories. The thinking was that they have an early election while they’re still popular, and then solidify the number of representatives in the House of Commons.

Well, that all went to shit pretty quickly, and those who support the left are delighted.

If anything, apart from the fact that politicians shouldn’t take the constituency for fools, and that they shouldn’t rest on their laurels, they should know that polls are not the silver bullet for reading the mood of the people. Of course, there are myriad reasons for why the election resulted the way that it did, but I would direct my attention more for what the result implies.

People are sick of it all. We are beyond an apathetic voter now, and rather than them simply voting for the least hate-able option, they are livid. They are tired of polished politicians giving them the typical polished speak, and smiling promises that fail to materialise into anything apart from half-washed bullshit.

The message is clear. Be better representatives. Stop telling people how to think, and start listening to them. Yes, even the ignorant ones. Even the smart ones. Even the smart ones who pretend to be morally superior. Just fucking listen.

This isn’t about left and right anymore. It’s about who can actually offer something apart from platitudes and promises, and maybe even solutions that seem to work. For instance, clamping down on the Internet as a means to stifle terrorist events is a paper-thin idiot’s offering for a situation that people find very scary. Asking the people to make personal concessions for a problem of not their doing is a fool’s errand, and when it proposes changes that have literally nothing to do with the problem at hand, then everyone knows that you’re – to use the British expression – taking the piss.

And especially so when making society change in the face of terrorism is tantamount to capitulating to it.

Be better representatives. Come with effective solutions and not “electable” ones. Think beyond the term and look to the future beyond polling days.

Because polls are dead. Stop using them and bring actual vision.

Populism is not the problem nor solution

I’ve linked to one of Jonathan Pie’s videos before, and I think this one also manages to align somewhat with my thoughts.

The only caveat I would add to anything relating to Populism is something that rings true for most democracies; the majority can sometimes be wrong.

Note, I said “Sometimes”.

I am not, broadly, calling everyone who has voted for the most popular candidate “wrong”.

I’ve sometimes thought that what politics needed wasn’t someone (or a party) that did everything that the majority wanted. That’s pretty much Governing by polls, and I think that’s a blight on the political landscape. When you’re Governing to get re-elected, you’ve immediately sold out your rational thought. You’re willing to do what is popular, which may not be the right thing.

Besides. I think polls are dead anyway.

What I’ve sometimes thought was needed was a party who would come in without the notion that they were going to survive the next election. They would come in, and do a large number of unpopular, but correct, things. A party that owns the issues it creates and says, “This is how we think it’ll get fixed, and we don’t give a shit what you think.”

Some might argue that this is the politician’s current modus operandi, but they do it with a smile and roundabout words. I would probably agree. Which is why I think it would be refreshing to see a single political term with some hard-headed dipshit at the helm. For one, at least they might stand by their convictions, and two, the people might appreciate the blunt honesty, rather than being spoken to like they’re a child.

I know I would.

I would rather be told that a housing market crash is a “necessary bad time” we had to had, than be told that it was “an opportunity to rebuild.”

At least tell me it’s a shit-sandwich, and the politician is paid enough to at least own the fact that they were the chef who wrote it on the menu.

Polls are dead

In an environment in where there is only one socially acceptable answer for anyone who values their social status, I am sure people will largely gravitate toward that one answer. Those who publicly go against the grain either have nothing to lose, or have enough backing behind them that they can support themselves.

This is one of the reasons why every single poll everywhere in the lead up to the US election was saying with unbridled certainty that Hillary Clinton was a shoe-in.

And we all know how that shook out.

How did the polls get it so wrong? I am sure the answer is obvious, but I’ll reiterate; it’s because those surveyed weren’t being honest.

When the media is telling you that a candidate is one of the most horrible people on the planet, is the next version of Hitler, and is ultimately going to cause the implosion of the United States, whereas the other candidate is going to be a history-making President, who are you going to tell others you support?

So when a young pollster with a clipboard thrusts their survey in your face, and you have to choose between the widely denounced Nazi and the widely revered stateswoman, you’re not exactly going to pump your fist in the air with a proud sieg heil.

As it has been said by countless others, people can say all they want out loud, but when they’re in the polling booth with no judgemental eyes on them, they can choose whoever they like, without the discerning glare of a pollster silently asking, “Really?”

However, this has extended in polling in approval ratings, I feel. The media is still, despite the lesson being very clear in the lead up to the election, attacking Trump at any angle they can find. He is still being labelled as some of the most horrible isms you can care to unearth. So is it any surprise that Trump’s approval ratings are so low?

I am not suggesting that his approval ratings are the opposite. Oh no. I am just saying that there are just as much reason to believe the polls as there is to not believe them. There’s a reason why “Pulling a Takei” is now a thing. Polls could reveal tomorrow that Trump’s approval ratings are the highest of any President ever, and I’ll still call bullshit on it.

The surveys can reveal all they want, but I am forever dubious on their sources until the media pulls their head in. The smear campaign against Trump, whether warranted or not, has sullied and tainted any poll or survey on him.

Polls are useless. They aren’t a good method of surveying anymore. Polls are dead.