Polls, like the weather, are fickle. But people still look at them daily to get a sense of what’s going to happen and plan their next steps accordingly.
We here at PP&B imagine that there once was a day where some polls were inaccessible to the masses. Only those at the very top, the political movers and shakers, knew how to get to these polls. They alone had the bird’s eye view that the common American could never dream of capturing.
Those days are gone. Here’s a good example of when they died:
NPR was interviewing Karl Rove just before the 2006 midterm elections. The NPR interviewer pointed out that polls were heavily leaning toward Democrats taking the House of Representatives. Rove scoffed at the notion, talking down to the interviewer and pointing out that he had access to tons of polls NPR knew nothing about.
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“How many polls are you looking at?” Rove questioned. The NPR interviewer said he looked at the big ones, the ones everyone would recognize.
Rove dismissed the interviewer. He was looking at tons more. Republicans would keep their House majority, Rove insisted. He knew the real score.
Now it could be argued that Rove was nothing more than a shill and was going to claim a Republican victory regardless of the truth. However, we think it’s just as likely that Rove either really believed what he was saying or fooled himself into thinking it was true.
Why the latter? Because Rove comes from a time where those at the tippy-top had all the information and the thought of that changing isn’t too friendly to a kingmaker. Now anyone can hop online and check polls from around the nation in minutes. Or you can just go to somebody’s website where the numbers are crunched daily and see the likely outcome of, say, the 2012 presidential race.
We no longer have to believe a talking head like Rove. He’s not holding all the cards anymore. We are, every time we turn on the computer.