However, if I am free to speak my mind about the impact of polls on voting behavior, but the exacting standards under which the MSM must labor does not permit that, then I think we may have a bigger problem.
All I did to provoke this response was point out that calling me a "nattering nabob" was just name calling, and that the last guy to use that phrae was in the wrong.
My original posts simply tried to point out other interpretations that the polls could be given as a way of reminding people that voting, not the polls ought to determine the outcomes of elections. That point is relatively non-controversial, but it almost never finds its way into the frontline news story. The editors will blog about it, but by their own disparaging of blogs, the work they do there lacks credibility compared with the work they do in print.
I let the gloating "We Nailed It!" post stand unchallenged, but what journalistic investigation could prove the hypothesis that the poll accurately REFLECTED the electorate was more true than the hypothesis that the poll CREATED the electorate? I raise a question, because the answer to this question is not proveable. One simply decides to believe that a poll is MORE LIKELY a reflector than a shaper.
For the record, my posts have raised questions about the three major print outlets in Nashville as well as other bloggers. Here's what Clint did not quote:
I am not saying that this poll won't end up being correct, but I would hate for any survey of 564 people to be correct because it led people to vote as if the poll were an instruction sheet. Everyone needs to make his/her own decision and vote that way. That is the only way democracy really works. Polls are fun to talk about, but if the polls shape how we vote, we are giving our decisions away.
In each election, there are many polls taken. Often on a national level, one of them ends up being pretty close to the results. The problem is that you never know which one will be accurate until after the results are in.
Don't let anyone (polls, bloggers, pundits) decide who you want to be your mayor. You get to make that decision on your own. With just a little over a week remaining, you still have time to consider all of the candidates thoughtfully, and make your own decision. If you want that decision to help shape Nashville's future, just be sure to act on it.
I am concerned that implicit questions of my ethics have been tossed around in comments to the post. What did I do in the above statement that was unethical?
Print journalists have hard jobs, and I respect their efforts to do them as well as they can. Why they don't report the negative implications of polling and horse racing is because if they did, it might leave them without a story on the polls.
I don't think that would be so bad, but it is not my place to tell them which of their opinions they can write.
I'd love to see a print article about the limitations of the polls and the potential that they will shape, rather than reflect the results. Until then, I guess I will have to keep putting that stuff here, in my own diary of personal opinions.
At least now someone important is listening, and I sincerely appreciate that.