Misleading Polls

I always get irritated when I see opinion polls, particularly on elections. One of the most misleading questions, in my opinion, is the one on “right track, wrong track” or “presidential approval.” There is always a presumption, that I don’t think is necessarily valid, that this translates automatically into prospects for the reelection of the incumbent. This is probably because the people who do the polls tend to think that voters are really as binary as the myth of the two-party system would indicate.

Perhaps I’m atypical, but you would not be able to figure out how I was going to vote on the basis of my answers to those questions.

I think that the country is on the wrong track, and has been so for decades. I disapprove of the president’s performance in many areas. If you asked me those questions, I’d answer, “wrong track” and “disapprove.”

Does that mean that I’m going to vote for John Kerry in November? Many would infer that, but there’s no logical reason to do so. Almost all of the issues on which I think that we’re on the “wrong track,” and of which I disapprove of the administration policy, would be vastly worse in a Democrat administration.

The polls don’t seem to take into account the fact that many (or at least some) voters will be holding their nose in the booth and voting for the lesser of two evils, as the result of the evil of two lessers, which renders those poll questions, if not meaningless, extremely misleading.