Lisa Scottoline: Survey Says
It’s election season, but this column isn’t about politics. It’s about polls.
It’s election season, but this column isn’t about politics.
It’s about polls.
Polls are all over the news, and every day is a new poll.
There are polls that Democrats take, and polls that Republicans take.
There are polls that Democrats love, and polls that Republicans love.
The importance of polls is the only thing that Democrats and Republicans agree on.
And all of the news coverage is whether pundits agree with polls, disagree with polls, or think polls are accurate.
It’s not politics, it’s poll-itics.
Polls are run by an array of organizations like Reuters, Rasmussen Reports, the New York Times, and Quinnipiac.
I can pronounce Quinnipiac only because they say it on TV all the time.
There’s even a Monmouth poll that tells you which horse is ahead.
Sorry, I mean candidate.
The horses are in the Gallup poll.
Every TV channel has a poll, and people who can’t get enough of polls run their own on Facebook and Twitter.
Is that a good idea, or a bad idea?
I’m taking a poll.
Politicians are being asked their opinion on the polls, so opinion gets layered on top of opinion like layer cake.
But not like a chocolate cake, which is awesome.
More like one of those weird rum cakes with the peanuts on the side that you get at Italian weddings. Trust me, the only thing going for them is that they’re full of alcohol. Otherwise, they fall over of their own weight.
And so do you.
Besides carbohydrates, you know what all this poll-taking reminds me of?
Yes, leave it to me to find Richard Dawson in this political season, for he is everywhere. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Richard Dawson was the host of a game show called Family Feud, which I think is still on, though I’m not sure Richard Dawson is still alive.
OK, I just checked. Sadly, Richard Dawson has passed on, but our obsession with opinion lives on.
Family Feud pits one family against the other in trying to guess the popular opinion about a particular subject. In Family Feud, it doesn’t matter what the facts are, only what people believe they are.
You can’t miss the resonance of Family Feud this political season.
Our two favorite American families, the Democrats and the Republicans, are at each other’s throats, and cable television keeps up a steady fare of survey says.
Reporters ask politicians what they think of the polls, not what they think of the underlying facts.
Which would be the difference between Family Feud and Jeopardy.
Jeopardy doesn’t have to do with opinion, but with facts.
But you have to answer in the form of a question, so even the truth is showbiz.
I like both Family Feud and Jeopardy, depending on the subject. For example, if I want to know the world’s favorite condiment, I’m watching Family Feud.
Condiments are a matter of opinion.
The Constitution is not.
Opinion and fact are blended these days, especially on cable news, regardless of whether you watch mustard cable news or ketchup cable news.
On both of them, reporters are running around the halls of Congress with microphones, asking politicians their opinions on polls. And of course, politicians wait to see what the survey says on the polls before they tell you their opinion, because politicians are Family Feud fans from way back.
Regardless of your political bent, this week is going to be filled with all manner of polls. An impeachment inquiry is on TV, and I don’t think this is a matter for Family Feud, but for Jeopardy.
I’m going to watch, listen to all the facts, and make up my own mind.
I do that every time I vote, which I did just recently.
I always get misty in the voting booth. Last time, I sat next to a father who was showing his son how to vote.
I snotted all over my ballot.
So I’m tuning in, for the duration.
I’ll avoid the polls and listen to the witnesses.
And I’ll remember, it’s not a game show.
Look for Lisa and Francesca’s humor collection, “I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses,” and the paperback of Lisa’s bestselling domestic thriller, “Someone Knows”, in stores now. email@example.com.