Bernie Sanders, defying the polls, won the primary election in Michigan. Five Thirty Eight, the blog that is all about the polls, wonders what this means. Could it be that their polls won’t accurately predict the results of coming primaries?
I’ll tell you what it means.
Ignore the goddamn motherfucking polls.
It doesn’t make a speck of difference if Nate Silver correctly predicts, or incorrectly predicts, how a future election will turn out, unless you’ve got a bet riding on it. The media ought to be discussing policies and plans, not how good their oracle is at predicting the margin of victory. THAT DOESN’T MATTER.
All I hear about in the political news, aside from reporting on spectacular gaffes, is poll numbers. It’s that stupid obsession that is one of the factors wrecking American politics — I’m not going to vote for someone because they lead in a poll, although apparently some people do. I’m going to vote for someone on the basis of what they promise to do.
I used to do these pointless poll posts, sending readers off to mess with these dumb click-baity online polls, but I stopped. The point was to show that these things are totally pointless, and don’t reflect anything of significance…but people started thinking they were an end in themselves. They weren’t. The same thing has happened to the news — polling has consumed ideas completely.
What I would like to see is a complete ban on speculation about who is winning on the news. Imagine a broadcast where Wolf Blitzer was totally silenced because he wasn’t able to portentiously declare that Candidate X was leading Candidate Y by Z percent in Bumbledump County, Nebraska, but instead had to say something about the issues in Bumbledump County and how X and Y would address them. It would completely change the dynamics of the news. It would suddenly require that Wolf Blitzer know something and have the intelligence to comment on it, beyond saying that 53 is bigger than 47.
So it’ll never happen.
I also wish that Five Thirty Eight would die in a catastrophic server meltdown.