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Senate Candidate Wants to Ban Polling

pudge posted more than 9 years ago | from the good-idea dept.

Democrats 206

Masker writes "This is just too funny. Alan Keyes, the Republican candidate for Senate in Illinois, who is running against Democrat Barack Obama, wants to ban political polling for 'a certain period' before the election, since such polls are 'manipulative and degrading and damaging to our political system.' Could his opinion be influenced by a recent poll that shows Keyes trails by 45 percentage points behind Obama?" Could be. But it could also be influenced by the fact that polls are often wrong; they influence how people vote (people are less likely to vote for someone who "doesn't have a chance"), and polls get reported on more than issues, which can't be good for anyone except the pollsters and whoever happens to be leading the polls.

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206 comments

receiving the calls (1)

alatesystems (51331) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337108)

I don't know about the rest of you, but I love it when the pollsters call me up and I get to give my opinion and answer good and bad about $CANDIDATE.

Although, I haven't gotten any calls since I moved to VoIP(Packet8), so I don't know if they haven't been able to get my number or something, but I don't think the Do Not Call List [donotcall.gov] applies to political candidates. This might be different though because supposedly polls don't work FOR candidates but rather provide an "objective" view.

Chris

Re:receiving the calls (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337131)

I had a pollster call up the other day, but before they would take my many opinions they asked me my post code to confirm I was from the right area, I wasn't. Somehow I think they were doing a survey of how many people actually know what the name of their electorate is.

And? (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337113)

influence how people vote

Isn't it the duty of every good citizen to try to influence how others vote? What are we supposed to do, lock ourselves in a political cage for 6 months before every election so as not to influence other voters? Cool, we can all go to the polls with no idea what the issues are we're voting for. Oh wait, I forgot, this is bipartisan politics, there are no issues.

Re:And? (4, Insightful)

Unordained (262962) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337172)

... it's bipartisan politics because we let it be. When I get polled, the questions are: which of "the two" (Bush/Kerry) are you planning on voting for, and why (like him/dislike opponent/issues) ... there's no room for saying that I -will- vote for a third candidate, nor to say that I'd rather vote for a third candidate.

With polls like that, no wonder everyone thinks the "independent candidates" are pointless to vote for -- we don't think they have a chance because we don't know how not-alone we are in our opinion, and our system makes our votes "useless" if not voting for the top two candidates.

If we had a smarter voting system, polls might make less sense -- your decision to vote for a candidate wouldn't have a reason to be influenced by who had the best chance of winning among your personal "okay" list. Rather than banning them (which is stupid and wrong) let's make them irrelevant?

Re:And? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338750)

You miss the question here, it isn't about whether people should try to persuade others or not to vote in a certain way, it is a matter of whether people should be voting for something because "5 out of 6 Pepsi drinkers prefer candidate X."

Some of us have an opinion that voting for something based on its popularity is damaging to the political system. We have the opinion that people should vote on the merits of the candidates or resolution being proposed.

Too bad our electoral system doesn't support real [aec.gov.au] choice [oasis.gov.ie].

polls are often wrong? (5, Insightful)

kootch (81702) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337137)

I don't understand why that link was for "polls are often wrong" when the first 2 paragraphs of the story it linked to specifically say:

"A review of the 159 Governor and U.S. Senate polls reported by the media in 2002 shows a very good performance for most polling organizations. The average candidate error for all polls was 2.4 percentage points. 84% of the polls differed from the election outcome by less than their theoretical margin of error."

I'm confused.

Re:polls are often wrong? (3, Insightful)

Bootsy Collins (549938) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337290)

I'm confused.

I don't think it's anything deep -- just that "often" is not the same as "usually". If polls are wrong a sixth of the time, it's not crazy to call that "often". (I haven't read the article, so I don't know whether it says that or not -- I just took 100% minus your quoted figure of 84% correct. But it's irrelevant to this comment)

Re:polls are often wrong? (2, Interesting)

TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337401)

In particular, an awful lot of Senator and Governor races are basically non-races--anyone could have predicted the outcome without any polls at all. We look to the polls only when its not already obvious who's going to win--and maybe that's the 16% of the time. On the other hand, more polls are probably taken in closer races, so maybe the 16% is actually a really great figure. That article just doesn't tell us enough information. On electoral-vote.com they listed the major polls from the 2000 election, and only two out of 10 or so predicted Al Gore would win the popular vote.

Re:polls are often wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338490)

On electoral-vote.com they listed the major polls from the 2000 election, and only two out of 10 or so predicted Al Gore would win the popular vote.

Al Gore didn't even win the popular vote by the margin of error of the official polls. That election would have counted under the "polls got it right" column.

Re:polls are often wrong? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10339556)

It doesn't matter if polls are right or wrong. The fact is that 79% of people love polls.

84% should be 95% (1)

crow (16139) | more than 9 years ago | (#10339628)

If the polls were accurate, you would expect 95% of the polls to be within their margin of error, because that's the definition of the margin--it's a statistical probability that, given a true random sample, there is a 95% chance that the actual value is within that margin.

What this shows is that 11% of polls are flawed.

Re:polls are often wrong? (1)

jhoffoss (73895) | more than 9 years ago | (#10339655)

Polls are an art, not a science. There's an article on page B1 (cover of the Marketplace section) of today's WSJ.

As example (and the fuel for the article I mention, as well, perhaps, as the article linked) is the fact that last week, "Gallup Organization had President Bush up by 13 percentage points, while the Pew Research Center had him and Sen. John Kerry dead even."

The article goes on to discuss how poll results are adjusted to represent even precentages of economic, educational, gender, age, and sometimes political affiliation, demographics. What that means: if only 4% of respondents are age 18-24, and it should be 6%, the results from that group will be increased by 50%.

This becomes an issue, as the article points out, because as much as 3% of the population whom are aged 18-30 are missed because they do not have land-lines, and cellular phones are not polled. But when they are adjusted by the means I mentioned, the views of those [typically more urban] population are not necessarilly represented.

In addition to all of this, as I mentioned, these polls are sometimes adjusted based on party representation. But if individuals being polled are Independent, but will vote for Bush, they have a tendency to call themselves Republican, which skews those numbers. Note that not all polling organizations adjust in this manner.

The last thing that can throw polls off is that 45% of the responses are thrown out immediately, based on their "liklihood to vote", which is arbitrarily decided with questions like "How likely are you to vote in November? Do you vote Always, Often, Sometimes, Rarely, or Never?" and on and on.

this + electronic voting (5, Insightful)

jafuser (112236) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337140)

Combine this with electronic voting with no paper trails, and you have a great way to rig an election, since nobody has any idea roughly how it should have come out to even contest the validity of the electronic votes.

Re:this + electronic voting (2, Insightful)

TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337380)

Umm...right, so maybe we should just have paper trails and decide whatever we want on the unrelated polling issue? The 2002 Georgia election polls all were surprised, but no one managed to contest the elections there, so I don't think the polls buy you anything in terms of legitimacy. If you've been hearing some of the discussions over cell phones and renormalizing political parties in polls, you might not have such faith in them yourself.

Re:this + electronic voting (3, Insightful)

eraserewind (446891) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337642)

Have to say I disagree. You can always take a series of polls, and publish after the election result if you are concerned about it's validity. Polls distract from the real issues in an election, and journalists focus on asking candidates what are they going to do about their poll figures rather than what they are going to do about <pressing issue>. Politicians focus on saying that they are clearly winning, and so don't bother with the other guy. This kind of meta-politics has no real value at all except to divert attention.

Re:this + electronic voting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338517)

Combine this with electronic voting with no paper trails, and you have a great way to rig an election

Or you could just get the Supreme Court to declare you the winner like Bush.

Re:this + electronic voting (1)

_iris (92554) | more than 9 years ago | (#10339184)

Perhaps we should allow polling but ban reporting of it for a short period before the elections?

This is the way it's done in France (3, Insightful)

xlv (125699) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337143)

If I remember correctly, that's the way it's done in France for a few days (a week?) before the election.

What's even more important in fact, is that the media is not allowed to report on the campaigns at all during that time, there's a complete black out during which voters are supposed to make up their minds, analyzing the merits of each candidate.

Re:This is the way it's done in France (1)

sfjoe (470510) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337204)

That sounds like a really bad idea. That way, the only news will be about the incumbent doing newsworthy things in the course of their duties.
An unethical, conniving, underhanded pol would be declaring two terror alerts every single day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Re:This is the way it's done in France (1)

xlv (125699) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337234)

No, the incumbant is not on TV at that time as he's part of the black out.



In fact, there's really no need to see the president every day and looking at Bush's vacation time in Texas, the president doesn't even need to be in office most of the time...

Other reasons he's behind in the polls? (5, Interesting)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337153)

Alan Keyes, the Republican candidate for Senate in Illinois

It should be noted that Alan Keyes isn't FROM Illinois, he is merely running [washingtonpost.com] in the Senate race. I don't think that in itself is bad, but it is probably one of the many reasons he is trailing in the polls.

I seem to remember Keyes once saying that people from out-of-state SHOULDN'T run for a state office, but I can't find that quote now, so maybe I'm just spreading nasty rumors. But it's ok, because I fufilled my duties.

So Alan Keyes, another Republican who wants to control things. There was once a day when Republicans were about NOT controlling things, but that time is long gone.

Re:Other reasons he's behind in the polls? (2, Interesting)

ophix (680455) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337390)

i think you missed the memo. keyes is a politician... that sort of implies he wants to control things.

thats what politicians do... enact legislation to raise their pay/retirement/benefits and screw over everyone else except the rich. this is true for both the republican AND the democratic party, they just cater to differing subsets of the rich. any candidate running in this important of an election is in someone's pocket. such is life.

that being said i am from illinois and am completely against someone running for an office when they do not even live in the area the office is supposed to serve.... but i also think that all politicians should be limited to a single term except in extenuating(sp?) circumstances.

Re:Other reasons he's behind in the polls? (3, Informative)

Quarters (18322) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337421)

A few years back Alan Keyes was quite vocal in his claims that Hillary Clinton shouldn't have been allowed to run in the NY senate race since she had just purchased a house there. Of course she was a strong Democrat going up against a very week Republican, but that probably didn't have anything to do with it...(ha!)

Re:Other reasons he's behind in the polls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10337509)

and another fact she was not asked to come there, people asked keys to go to illanos

Re:Other reasons he's behind in the polls? (1)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337714)

Really? Out of the millions of people in NYC, you are saying *nobody* asked her to come there?

If that was true she wouldn't have won the election.

Come on, people were talking about it for a year before the election.

Re:Other reasons he's behind in the polls? (1)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 9 years ago | (#10339929)

NY already had a candidate for the Senate when Hillary moved to NY. She was a Democrat from down state who probablly would have won just as easily as Hillary..

Re:Other reasons he's behind in the polls? (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338688)

Like Hillary or not, like Bill or not,
at least Bill Clinton, in a noteworthy fashion, lives in New York. Some might say 'notorious fashion,' but nonetheless he gives the very visible appearance of being a New York resident.

Of course most Senators need to spend most of their time in Washington. I have no idea where Hillary spends her time when she's not there.

A Republican response... (4, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 9 years ago | (#10339750)

I'm a Republican, and let me say this about Keyes running in Illinois: it's hypocritical in the extreme. Hillary shouldn't have been allowed to run in New York, and Keyes shouldn't have been allowed to run in Illinois. The very concept of a famous person moving to a place just because they think they can win a race stinks. It's basically giving a big backhand to the idea of representative democracy.

When all is said and done, I think that overall, the GOP will win big this year. But when you ask party leaders what they'd do differently, in private they'll tell you that importing Keyes was a huge fuckup, and will likely hurt them in Illinois for years (a state with a not-insignificant 21 electoral votes). Maybe Barrack Obama was going to win no matter who ran against him. But something about the mindset of the GOP in Illinois really bugs me. When Ryan backed out of the race, and Ditka wouldn't run, there was this assumption that since the Dem's were running a black candidate, hey, we have to have a black candidate too. That's stupid thinking number one; just get a good candidate, color or sex not being part of it. Stupid thinking number two comes in when they've decided that they HAVE to have a black candidate, and we've found this woman that's a doctor, and a loyal republican, longtime resident of Illinois. BUT WAIT......Let's bring in Alan Keyes instead! Never mind that he's never LIVED in Illinois before.

Put this one into the "what not to do" section of campaigning.

Re:Other reasons he's behind in the polls? (3, Informative)

mzs (595629) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338594)

I am from IL and I here is an example of what Alan Keyes is about:

Separation of Church and State? What is that? [retakingamerica.com]

Stances like this are why he will lose the election here. I am sure that Republicans like Jim Thompson are very much beside themselves about it actually. They can look at this as illustrating how Illinoisans want more moderate Republicans and Keyes' royal trouncing will help shift the Republican agenda in IL back to where it can be palatable to the majority again. Too bad for the RNC which was so dead set on a candidate like Keyes that they forgot to actually rally behind one that the majority would accept...

Re:Other reasons he's behind in the polls? (4, Informative)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338962)

*sigh* This is a huge pet peeve of mine...

Separation of church and state:
  • Is not in the constitution (as most people think)
  • Does not mean nobody can have religion
  • Even if their in public office
  • Is *not* about removing religious symbols from public property
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" not "Congress shall tear down religious symbols wherever it may annoy citizens."

Allowing a court house to have the 10 commandments in front of it is hardly passing a law respecting or prohibiting the free exercise of religion. This is called "Freedom of Religion" people. The right to actually have a religion.

Re:Other reasons he's behind in the polls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10339405)

Even looking at the term "separation of church and state", last time I looked "church" and "state" are both institutions. That's much different than saying "separation of faith and state" or "separation of church and politics" or whatever.

Re:Other reasons he's behind in the polls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10339679)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

Yes, but I still say "yeah, right". The House just passed law making it illegal for courts below the U.S. Supreme Court to hear cases pertaining to the removal of the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Re:Other reasons he's behind in the polls? (1)

strike2867 (658030) | more than 9 years ago | (#10339841)

I'm also from IL, and I'm glad he has no chance. I will even be doing my part to vote against him. A month ago he talked of corruption [dailysouthtown.com] in IL. Absolutely nothing backing it up, just more fear mongering. There is a good reason he is down so much. Some other polls suggest that he may be down less than 45 though, so please if you're in IL make sure he has no chance.

Re:Other reasons he's behind in the polls? (-1, Troll)

w3rzr0b0t5 (816100) | more than 9 years ago | (#10339230)

Dear Angry Liberal,

Nice sig. I'll remember to laugh at you when your worthless candidate gets beaten by at least 15% on election day.

It's gonna be great!!! I'll even do a little dance to taunt you and your friends.

Re:Other reasons he's behind in the polls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10339547)

Keyes is such a fucking idiot. He and Alan Combes used to have a late night AM radio talk show together back in the mid to late 1990s before anyone knew who the hell either of them were. They're both total douchebags, but Keyes was always coming out of left field and saying the most bizarre things. He always gave the impression that he was the kind of guy who would force children into labor camps, legalize beating your wife and put teen mothers and women who've had abortions into prison. He is a very unlikable, unreasonable, over-the-top uber-conservative. I consider myself a libertarian but was very much a conservative (at least, fiscally) at the time (I was 19/20) but he is such a nut-case. In fact, Keyes always struck me as the kind of hateful prick who would encourage hanging black people lynch-mob style (he's black, by the way).

Think about a skinnier, darker-skinned Jerry Falwell. That's exactly what Keyes is.

Article text (in case of /.'ing) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10337165)

Keyes slams 'phony' polls

By Kurt Erickson
kerickson@springnet1.com

BLOOMINGTON -- Political polls are "phony" and should not just be disregarded, but banned, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Alan Keyes argued Monday.

"They (polls) are manipulative and degrading and damaging to our political system, and they should not be allowed when it comes to the actual time frame in which people are making up their minds," Keyes said during a meeting with The Pantagraph's editorial board.

His comments came in response to questions about a Pantagraph/St. Louis Post-Dispatch poll published Monday showing him trailing Democrat Barack Obama 68 percent to 23 percent.

The survey, released 43 days before the election, indicates many Illinoisans may be troubled by the fact that the conservative former presidential candidate is from Maryland and that he has locked horns with some members of his own party over his conservative beliefs.

But Keyes dismissed the poll results as the work of a biased media.

"I would suggest that what would be appropriate is a complete ban on all polling activity and all publication of such polling activity within a certain time frame," said Keyes.

"All of the polls taken at this stage of the game are phony anyway."

Keyes has spent two days in Central Illinois trying to drum up support for his late-starting campaign. He replaced original GOP nominee Jack Ryan last month after Ryan bowed out amid sex-club allegations.

Despite his showing in the polls and his sparring with state GOP leaders, Keyes was warmly received Monday at a lunch meeting of the McLean County Republican Party.

In a 20-minute speech, Keyes drilled home his conservative beliefs, including his opposition to abortion, gay marriage and taxes and his support of gun-owner rights and the war in Iraq.

"Forget the polls! Forget the pundits," he urged the estimated 150 people in attendance.

At both the luncheon and at the newspaper, Keyes said Republicans will fare well in Illinois on Nov. 2, even though President Bush has all but given up campaigning in the state because it leans Democratic.

"I represent something people have longed for in Illinois politics for a long time," Keyes said. "I bring the residents of Illinois a long, thick cock. I am raising the banner of Christian priorities and moral priorities at all costs. And I am fighting everyday against people who say, 'You can't win that way. You can't be talking about this. You've got to stop talking about abortion. You've got to stop talking about gay marriage. You've got to stop talking about all these moral issues.'"

Keyes also made a veiled reference to his testy relationship with party officials, including state GOP Chairwoman Judy Baar Topinka, the moderate state treasurer who has not openly embraced Keyes' candidacy.

Without naming anyone in particular, Keyes said "certain elements" of the Republican Party "have been co-opted" by Democrats who control state government.

Re:Article text (in case of /.'ing) (1)

EightMillion (657319) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337692)

"I represent something people have longed for in Illinois politics for a long time," Keyes said. "I bring the residents of Illinois a long, thick cock. I am raising the banner of Christian priorities and moral priorities at all costs.

Anyone else notice that? I for some reason don't think that was in the original text.

NOT THE ORIGINAL TEXT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10337720)

Hey funny guy, don't edit the text:

"I represent something people have longed for in Illinois politics for a long time," Keyes said. "I bring the residents of Illinois a long, thick cock. I am raising the banner of Christian priorities and moral priorities at all costs. And I am fighting everyday against people who say, 'You can't win that way. You can't be talking about this. You've got to stop talking about abortion. You've got to stop talking about gay marriage. You've got to stop talking about all these moral issues.'"

What Mr. Keyes actually said was, "banner of moral priorities". Don't try and put words in his mouth!

Mr. Keyes brings Illinois a fresh moral perspective, as well as a really big african-american penis, and you don't have to "pigeonhole" the guy.

Commentary (2, Interesting)

unixbum (720776) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337167)

Posted by pudge on Thursday September 23, @08:32PM from the good-idea dept. Masker writes "This is just too funny. Alan Keyes, the Republican candidate for Senate in Illinois, who is running against Democrat Barack Obama, wants to ban political polling for 'a certain period' before the election, since such polls are 'manipulative and degrading and damaging to our political system.'
Could his opinion be influenced by a recent poll that shows Keyes trails by 45 percentage points behind Obama?" Pudge: Could be. But it could also be influenced by the fact that polls are often wrong; they influence how people vote (people are less likely to vote for someone who "doesn't have a chance"), and polls get reported on more than issues, which can't be good for anyone except the pollsters and whoever happens to be leading the polls.
Does anyone else find the fact that almost a third of this post is commentary?

Re:Commentary (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10337280)

Does anyone else find the fact that almost a third of this post is commentary?

Find the fact that a third of it is commentary, what? Find it amusing? Find it odd? Find it strange? Find it arousing? (No, I don't want an answer to that.)

Re:Commentary (1)

Quinn (4474) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337296)

That's a reversal from the commentary usually being in the submission itself, and it all being partisan tripe from a neo-hippy fucktard.

Yes, I did find that (1)

billybob (18401) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337672)

Does anyone else find the fact that almost a third of this post is commentary?

Yes, in fact, I did find the fact that almost a third (actually almost half) of the post was commentary. And...? :)

Re:Commentary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10337764)

It's freeperish moderation coordinating with Rovian talking points.

Right wingers surrendering any pretense of true patriotism: a great nation.

Trying to put a positive spin on carpetbagger Keyes: priceless.

I miss the I work at vote vendor X and can say the technology is wonderful posts.

Re:Commentary (2, Insightful)

aggiefalcon01 (730238) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337810)

I do find the fact, yes. I don't mind it, though, as I think Pudge brings up a valid point worth talking about. A "point that matters", if you will. Given the "stuff that matters" mantra of /. , this is fine with me.

Great idea, but... (3, Insightful)

I_Love_Pocky! (751171) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337169)

What about the first amendment?

Re:Great idea, but... (3, Insightful)

identity0 (77976) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337218)

Well, the 1st Amendment protects you if you just report the results of a poll, but I don't think it protects the act of collecting the data to begin with. There are plenty of laws governing behavior in public, including political behavior like protests, leafleting, etc.

Conducting an accurate survey would require going to a lot of strangers in public or calling them up to ask questions, and that sort of thing tends to be covered under solicitation laws.

Of course, one could still conduct a volunteer survey, but that would be known to be inaccurate, so people might ignore those.

As Ice-T said... (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337757)

Freedom of Speech, that's some motherfuckin' bullshit
You say the wrong thing, they'll lock your ass up quick
The FCC says "Profanity - No Airplay"?
They can suck my dick while I take a shit all day
Think I give a fuck about some silly bitch named Gore?
Yo PMRC, here we go, raw
Yo Tip, what's the matter? You ain't gettin' no dick?
You're bitchin' about rock'n'roll, that's censorship, dumb bitch
The Constitution says we all got a right to speak
Say what we want Tip, your argument is weak
Censor records, TV, school books too
And who decides what's right to hear? You?
Hey PMRC, you stupid fuckin' assholes
The sticker on the record is what makes 'em sell gold
Can't you see, you alcoholic idiots
The more you try to suppress us, the larger we get

[Verse 2]

Continues: http://www.lyricstime.com/lyrics/3426.html [lyricstime.com]

Re:Great idea, but... (1)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338509)

We've already scrapped the first amendment when it comes to elections.

Anthony DiPierro is responsible for the content of this Slashdot post.

Why stop there (4, Funny)

eyeball (17206) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337186)

Ban voting. It also can also affect election outcome. Unless you live in Florida.

I agree, polls are bad. (5, Interesting)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337202)

Sadly, I have seen the effect of polls...

Perot, Dole, Clinton race.. I was working in a small retail store. The owner (my boss) talked for weeks of voting for Perot (after all Perot was a bidnessman)... I watched the store while he went to vote. He came back and blew my mind by stating "I voted for Clinton, because he is going to win anyway" (this is what I call the football game mentality of polls ... he wanted to be a "WINNER")

Of course after that I always thought of him as a real winner ! :)

I firmly beleived polls should be blacked out at some time period before the actual election day

Personaly, I can wait until the next day to find out the results.. .especialy if it encourages people to vote for who they "really" wanted.

regards

dbcad7

Re:I agree, polls are bad. (1)

div_B (781086) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337368)

He came back and blew my mind by stating "I voted for Clinton, because he is going to win anyway" (this is what I call the football game mentality of polls ... he wanted to be a "WINNER")

I fear that this sort of thing is pretty prevalent. It's probably the simplest way to ensure that the candidate you vote for wins (and then feel good about it), and for a lot of 'swing voters', that's probably more important (subconciously at least) than the candidate's policies (given the slightness of the differentiation between the policies of the 2 main candidates anyway).

Re:I agree, polls are bad. (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338742)

What's bad is our system of voting.

Maybe he really didn't want to vote for the winner, maybe he just didn't want Dole in the office. In that sense, he may have felt that a vote for Perot was a vote for Dole, because it took away from Clinton. Just like in 2000 a vote for Nader was ironically a vote for Bush.

We need a more sophisticated voting scheme, which has often been a topic on /. There has been at least one try in recent Vermont history to get Instant Runoff, though it failed. The Progressives are a strong third party in Vermont, and the Libertarians have a presence, too. Perhaps an 'unholy alliance' between these two could get Instant Runoff through. I would think in this matter, the Democrats might join in, because normally Progressive votes take from them.

Re:I agree, polls are bad. (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338879)

Just like in 2000 a vote for Nader was ironically a vote for Bush.


People keep saying this, but the math doesn't work out. At best, it's a half a vote. If the person had *actually* voted for either Bush or Gore, not only would one of the two have lost a vote, but the other would have gained a vote. And that's before you get into what percentage of people who vote for a third party candidate wouldn't have voted at all if that candidate hadn't run.

Re:I agree, polls are bad. (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338932)

Just like in 2000 a vote for Nader was ironically a vote for Bush.


Oh I forgot to mention...

Unlike what you're implying, what's truly ironic about that situation is that instead of strengthening a third party and pushing policy that isn't aligned with either of the two major parties in a way similar to what Perot did, Nader's run in 2000 convinced a bunch of people that it's better to vote for a mediocre candidate and compromise your beliefs in certain issues than to express your views.

Re:I agree, polls are bad. (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 9 years ago | (#10339084)

That's why I suggest that what we really need for alternative parties to grow is an alternative voting scheme. That way, even though you think it highly likely that one of the two major party candidates will win, you can vote for the alternative party without it acting like an effective vote for the major party you candidate you dislike more.

There are many alternative voting schemes, and they've been discussed on /. before. The difficulty is getting them into use, because the two major parties both have a vested interest in the current voting scheme. But the method of voting is left up to each state, so it may be possible to see the camel's nose under then tent in places like Vermont or the midwest state where they're contemplating splitting their electoral votes.

He isn't all their (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337251)

This is the same man who thinks that the main purpose of marriage is having kids and that the fact that gays can not have kids is a reason to not allow them to marry. Follow this chain of thought out and you will realize that he appears to believe that unless you can have kids you should not be married.

Re:He isn't all their (2, Insightful)

ctr2sprt (574731) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337589)

That doesn't logically follow at all. "Main purpose" does not preclude there being other purposes. If there weren't, he'd have no problems with divorce once the first kid is born, and I'm sure he does. Just as most people do.

Furthermore, the intent to have children does not imply an intent to do so immediately. One could get married planning to have children five or however many years down the road. That's still fulfilling the main purpose of marriage by his standard, just not immediately.

Bear in mind that both of these are patently obvious problems with your argument assuming that your premise (i.e. your description of his beliefs) is entirely accurate. Which I very much doubt.

Incidentally, I don't agree with him. But if you're going to argue against his position, you need to (1) argue against his actual position; and (2) make sure your argument isn't as broken as his. I'm not convinced you did either, or in fact made a serious effort to. That suggests that you aren't arguing from reason, but from mindless belief - doubtless one of your purported objections to his beliefs. Consistency is a virtue, though not a perfect one. You should strive to attain it in at least some small measure.

Re:He isn't all their (2, Informative)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337747)


Alan Keyes: "No, the point of the matter is that marriage, as an institution, involves procreation. It is in principle impossible for homosexuals to procreate. Therefore, they cannot marry. It is a simple logical syllogism, and one can wish all one might, but pigs don't fly and we can't change the course of nature."
Mike Signorile: "But one or the other in the couple can procreate. The men can donate their sperm, the women can have babies."

Alan Keyes: "The definition and understanding of marriage is 'the two become one flesh.' In the child, the two transcend their persons and unite together to become a new individual. That can only be done through procreation and conception. It cannot be done by homosexuals."

Mike Signorile: "But what about a heterosexual couple who cannot bear children and then adopt? They are not becoming as one flesh, they are taking someone else's flesh."

Alan Keyes: "And they are adopting the paradigm of family life. But the essence of that family life remains procreation. If we embrace homosexuality as a proper basis for marriage, we are saying that it is possible to have a marriage state that in principle excludes procreation and is based simply on the premise of selfish hedonism. This is unacceptable."

Mike Signorile: "So Mary Cheney is a selfish hedonist, is that it?"

Alan Keyes: "Of course she is. That goes by definition. Of course she is."

Mike Signorile: "I don't think Dick Cheney would like to hear that about his daughter."

Alan Keyes: "He may or may not like to hear the truth, but it can be spoken."

Alan Keyes: "By definition, a homosexual engages in the exchange of mutual pleasure. I actually object to the notion that we call it sexual relations because it's nothing of the kind.

Alan Keyes: "It is the mutual pursuit of pleasure through the stimulation of the organs intended for procreation, but it has nothing to do with sexuality because they are of the same sex. And with respect to them, the sexual difference does not exist. They are therefore not having sexual relations."

Re:He isn't all their (2, Interesting)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337750)

Offtopic question time. Prior to a year ago, gay marriage wasn't an issue. Then *boom* the SF Mayor did something controversial and the whole world is calling conservative americans evil nasty fscks for opposing gay marriages. My offtopic question(s) are:

Where were all the pro-gay-marriage politicians before last year? Where were the elected officials scrambling to be the first on the block to have gay marriages? Why is the US the only country being called a primitive throwback for not having gay marriage? What nations had gay marriage last year? This year?

Re:He isn't all their (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337761)

It wasn't an election year then, now it is. The 'regligious' right is treated by the GOP the same way that black people are treated by the Dems, that is they say they will help them while they are running for election then they forget about them till they need votes and money again.

Re:He isn't all their (1)

Zachary Kessin (1372) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338639)

Well then what about a couple in their 60's getting married (say after their first spouses had passed on). Now if they are both past 60 they won't have kids. But it should still be a joyfull occation that they got married and will (we hope) be happy together. Jewish law would definitly aprove of such a match.

Actually some neighbors of mine are in a very similar position. The are both about 60, she was married before with kids, he was not. The have adopted 2 very sweet girls with down syndrom. Which is a wonderful thing, but not something I would want to do.

Re:He isn't all their (2, Insightful)

lynx_user_abroad (323975) | more than 9 years ago | (#10339202)

Follow this chain of thought out and you will realize that he appears to believe that unless you can have kids you should not be married.

Perhaps we should take this a step further and deny "marriage" to:

  • Anyone who hasn't actually had children. (Unless you do have kids you should not be married.)
  • Families where the children are not biologically related to both parents (step-parents taxed at the single rate, adopted children don't count, etc.)
  • Couples where the children are older than 18 and can no longer be claimed as dependents (since these people are no longer performing the act of "raising their children".)

Of course, if we do that, then we have to start seeing the lack of universal health care for children for what it really is; an assault on the institution of marriage, a "family" tax penalty, and something no upstanding conservative Republican worth his salt would ever stand for.

Barack Osama? (-1, Flamebait)

Quinn (4474) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337267)

Sounds like a terrorist to me. We let terrorists run for the United States of America Senate now? I guess the Democrats support terrorism. Leave Keyes alone. Just send him your slave reparations and shut up already, damn.

Re:Barack Osama? (3, Informative)

Keith Russell (4440) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337339)

Please, please, somebody tell me that my browser mangled the <sarcasm> tags.

For those who did take that seriosuly, you'll get a good idea of who Barack Obama is by reading the transcript of his keynote address [cnn.com] at the Democratic National Convention.

Re:Barack Osama? (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337777)

excerpt from his DNC speech:"...There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America..."

-0-

Does that mean that he will not be a member of the (using NAACP logic) racist Congressional Black Cacus?

Alan Keyes... (3, Interesting)

GOD_ALMIGHTY (17678) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337273)

is on my permanent .ignore list.

Why anyone takes this loon seriously is mindblowing. This is the guy that called Hillary Clinton a carpetbagger for moving to New York to run for the Senate and then moved to Illinois to do the same. I guess this is just par for the course for the GOP these days though. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is going to help this guy win against Obama. There's no contest.

As for polls, who cares. It's better than 24/7 coverage of IBM typewriters and 30+ year old war stories.

Re:Alan Keyes... (2, Interesting)

TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337565)

The man used to be known for his great oratory skill, even in defense of a fanatically right-wing agenda. In his saner days he would have made a good speech writer for--I dunno, some non-crazy Republican. In fact, when I saw Obama's speech at the convention, it actually reminded me of Keyes. But public speaking was his only skill-he failed twice in a bid for a seat as Maryland's senator. In fact, he's kind of a professional failure, using his Quixotic political campaigns to get attention, then go back to talk radio or whatever. He's ALWAYS hated polls, because he always loses. But there's a glut of people like that in both parties.

He's got a strange kind of intellectual honesty--I believe he's brought up that comparison to Hillary himself several times in his Illinois campaign. He believes what he's saying and always manages to make a fairly convincing argument for it.

It's just too bad that what he says is complete madness. Calling Dick Cheney's daughter a sinner because she loves a woman? It may be a logically consistent point of view, Alan, but it's still a fucking monstrously bigotted point of view. Even though it was clear from the start that Obama would win, I was still excited to here Keyes was going against him. But that excitement turned to sickness when I heard that Cheney sound bite.

1996 Alan Keyes would have been an entertaining nemesis for Obama. He was a social conservative, but he was also rather liberatarian. What was so interesting about him was how his speeches managed to tie that apparent contradictions together into a coherent ideology. He was a smart fellow, and I wish he would have made the same conversion to semi-reasonability that Pat Buchanan has made now that Bush has led Republicans into the seas of madness. But, I should have known, the neoconservative fantasies of the Iraq war are exactly the sort insanity-as-idealism that appeals to him. I hope this campaign is the last we hear of Keyes.

Re:Alan Keyes... (2, Insightful)

GOD_ALMIGHTY (17678) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337690)

This is what happens when Americans confuse their culture or morality with the business of the government. It's logically consistent in his own mind, but inconsistent with the founding ideology of the country. Keyes, like Buchanan, believes in a theocratic mythology of America. At least Buchanan realizes that his ideas along this line aren't getting him anywhere and that he gets much more exposure using his intelligence for political analysis. Remember that Buchanan was the one who claimed that the US was in a culture war at the GOP convention, a meme the GOP, and Alan Keyes, have embraced.

Re:Alan Keyes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338515)

This is what happens when Americans confuse their culture or morality with the business of the government.

Actually, it's you and the above poster that have done that. All the guy said was that Dick Cheney's daughter was a sinner. He didn't say he wanted to lock her up.

Re:Alan Keyes... (1)

GOD_ALMIGHTY (17678) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338569)

Then why does he support federally sponsored discrimination of a secular marriage contract? What business does any American politician have judging who is a sinner? The only interest an American politician should have in judging others is in criminality. What crime has Mary Cheney commited that would preclude her from obtaining such a contract? Whose rights does she violate by obtaining a marriage contract with another woman? What state interest is served through this arbitrary discrimination that would make it valid?

Seems your glass house isn't impervious to stones.

A good idea, done elsewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10337298)

This is already done in many other countries, for a few days or a week before the election. It works well, because (as has been pointed out) polling late in the campaign can seriously distort outcomes. Exit polls in particular bother me.

Something that bothers me more than late polling, though, is starting to count votes and announce results before the election has ended. That happens in the US too. Wake up, check results, go vote.

I'm not in the US, maybe someone can explain how that is a fair system?

Re:A good idea, done elsewhere (1)

TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337600)

It's time zones. They start counting votes in the Eastern states when Eastern pools close, and sometimes announce the results before states to the west finish. So if New England was called for Bush, at 20:00 EST, then people still voting at 17:00 in California will know Bush will probably win. This time around, that doesn't seem likely--it's probably gonna be close until polls close in California, and we Easterners will have to wake up Nov. 3 to find out who won. Or sometime in December if it's like 2000.

It sucks, they should wait until all polls are closed to announce exit polls. I'm not sure if they tried to pass a law to that effect--the First Amendment (Free Speech) may not permit such a restriction.

Ban Polling? (4, Funny)

Polo (30659) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337469)

...but they can't do that.

That's the primary way we're going to get CowboyNeal elected!

Kwazy (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337576)

Keyes is off his rocker. A carpetbagger from Maryland who vocally criticized Hillary Clinton for moving to NY to run (successfully) for senator. And the Republicans who picked him, to run a black man against the likely first black senator representing Illinois, shows their contempt for democracy, race, the people of Illinois, and sanity. What's worse is the cadre of other actually insane Republicans he fits in with. How much more obvious a charade could they run?

Re:Kwazy (2, Interesting)

CodeWanker (534624) | more than 9 years ago | (#10339675)

Speaking as a rabid, reactionary, right-wing mega-zealot... Kwazy is right. It's absolutely shameful that Keyes just popped in to have a "Battle of the Darkies" minstrel show. I don't know if it's racist, since I don't know how skin color was supposed to affect this thing one way or the other.

Oh, wait. Now I know... Republicans want to show that they can scrape up a token as well as the democrats can. Okay, so it IS racist... So much for content of your character trumping the color of your skin. Alan Keyes is a major-league non-electable nutball. He's playing this for publicity because the more insanely right-wing religiously-bigoted things he can say, the more his books and radio show appearances sell to his base, his paying audience. So it's a symbiotic relationship, uh, sorta.

The shame of it is the national Republican party could have done a LOT more for REAL racial harmonization of the party by backing Herman Cain [cainforussenate.org] here in good old Georgia. I voted for him in the primary because he's the best conservative candidate. He happens to be black. They've set themselves back a fair piece with ol' Alan up there stirring up the yankees.

The first black president will be a conservative Republican...

Re:Kwazy (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#10339883)

Maybe, and he'll be backed by the Republican Party *entirely* to be able to say that the first black president was a Republican. Note that Obama is no token - he's a very popular politician who happens to be black.

Polls are very frustrating (1)

arkham6 (24514) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337614)

I have to stop looking at polls since they seem to inaccurate, and sometimes outright biased. Some sites, like www.electoral-vote.com will show Kerry leading by 30 votes in the electoral college one day, the next show him down 50. Obviously this isnt really happening, so something must be flawed.

OTher times, you see three different polls being about the same number, ie bush 47, Kerry 46, then one guy who's just out there, like Bush 65, kerry 32. Er...huh?

Then you get the poll companies that are part of the various political party. The repub's have one I know of, I bet the dems have one too.

A few things to know about Alan Keys (1, Insightful)

jmitchel!jmitchel.co (254506) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337791)

1> As every one has so astutely pointed out, Alan Keys is a crank.
2> At no point in the race did Alan Keys have any chance of winning the election.
3> Alan Keys is a part a plan of either the old-line republicans to shame the fundamentalist wing of the party, or a plan by the fundamentalists to take over the republican party.
4> Alan Keys' publicly announce strategy to win this election is to say absurd and offensive things in hope of getting media coverage. Good job guys!

bah (4, Interesting)

elmegil (12001) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337916)

Keyes is the Jerry Springer of politics. He's an idiot and he's an asshole. He's stated his intention to make one outrageous statement a day until the election, and I suppose this is one of the more recent ones (to go along with his commentary about Mary Cheney "misusing her genitals", etc).

Why he even agreed to enter this race is amazing, and the fact that the state Republican Party saw fit to pull him instead of the number two Primary winner (after Jack Ryan's campaign imploded over relatively irrelevant allegations from a contentious divorce) is a mystery to those of us who live here. The #2 guy was Jim Oberwies, a well known (in Chicagoland anyway) conservative dairy owner, who was a completely viable candidate--easily with more connection to the residents of Illinois than Keyes, and easily conservative enough to be electable with the more conservative downstate electorate.

All Keyes entry does is prove that all the negative rhetoric about Hillary not really being from NY is just so much hot air on the part of the GOP. He's clearly going to lose, and I can't think of any of the republicans I know here who want to vote for him given his public record as a lunatic and a jerk. Being behind 45 points in the polls is probably accurate given the distaste for the man here, regardless of the accuracy of polls in general.

I could care less... (1)

epcraig (102626) | more than 9 years ago | (#10337937)

There must be a way for somebody who doesn't live in Illinois and cheerfully lies to pollsters could care less, but I can't say it matters.

In Oregon politics, polls are fairly meaningless (1)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338060)

Oregon has all elections done by mail. All ballots are due in the elections offices by 8 PM on election day. (So 'absentee' ballots must ARRIVE by election time, unlike in most states, where absentee ballots can pour in over the course of a couple weeks AFTER election day.)

In a recent primary, the position of Mayor of Portland was up. There were a ridiculous number of candidates, many serious, a lot more not. In the Portland mayoral race, if one candidate wins by enough of a margin at the primary, he automatically wins. One city council member was expected to win by a large enough margin to win outright. A relatively unknown (in the press) candidate won enough votes to force a two-man runoff in November. And now he challenger looks seriously like he might win. (Again, based on the same polls that showed him behind by a large margin, even on election day.)

Ah...many countries actually do this (4, Informative)

Nice2Cats (557310) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338231)

This is just too funny.

Sorry to distrub your editorializing here, but there are in fact quite a number of countries that do this. Other things more modern democracies have found out work pretty well are not announcing any election results until everybody's vote is in (aw, the Californian says, why go vote, Gore is going to win anyway); vote on a Sunday so people don't have to skip work; give everybody the same ballot sheet; give every person one vote instead of some screwy system with a bunch of middlemen who distort the effect of the popular vote.

As with the legal system and electricity, America's electorial system suffers enormously from being one of the first ones implemented and the inability of Congress to pass any serious reforms. Get rid of trial by jury, switch to 220 volts, make it a direct vote, and then you will be ready to enter the 21. Century. Computers that run with 220 volts are twice as fast!

Re:Ah...many countries actually do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10338529)

Sorry to distrub your editorializing here, but there are in fact quite a number of countries that do this.

The fact that other countries do it doesn't make it any less funny.

Other things more modern democracies have found out work pretty well are not announcing any election results until everybody's vote is in (aw, the Californian says, why go vote, Gore is going to win anyway)

Huh? Gore did win California, and it was by way more than one vote.

vote on a Sunday so people don't have to skip work

Combined, I guess, with mandating that people not work on Sunday. I guess that's fine once you've mandated a particular subset of Christianity.

give everybody the same ballot sheet

Including the blind I suppose.

give every person one vote instead of some screwy system with a bunch of middlemen who distort the effect of the popular vote

That's probably how they wound up with a state religion in the first place. Just give 51% of the people whatever they want.

Polls are all BS anyway. (2, Informative)

Temporal (96070) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338383)

As I have learned since I started paying attention to electoral-vote.com [electoral-vote.com], most polls are BS. For example, two different polls recently conducted in Wisconsin show Kerry getting 50% and 38% of the vote. The polls don't even have overlapping margins of error. Therefore, at least one of them is simply dead wrong. Similar polls have been popping up all over the map, even from "trusted" sources like Gallup. If it's so easy for polls to be so wrong, why should we trust any of them?

Re:Polls are all BS anyway. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10339574)

I asked Gallup if they really excluded cell phones in their sampling - this was the reply I got back :
The research we have done and learned about at professional meetings
suggest that the vast majority of people who use a cell phone also have a
land line phone. The estimates of cell phone only households is in the
2-3% range. So 96-97% of Americans have land line phones (some small
percentage does not have a cell phone or a land line phone), and thus
are included in our samples.

The research also indicates that people with only a cell phone have
generally similar attitudes to those with a land line phone. That small
percentage of cell phone only people would have to be dramatically
different from land line phone people to even move our numbers a fraction of
a point.

Nevertheless, we continue to monitor the growing trend toward
cell-phone only usage, and as the practice becomes more widespread (and we see
differences in attitudes between cell-phone only and landline), it may
become necessary to adjust our sampling procedures to account for that.

I love how the presses over-react to polls (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338457)

From week to week, you will have a change in the polls that is within the margin of error for the presidential race. Then of course, because the media has nothing better to do, they will report that this must mean the Kerry campaign is stalling or that Bush obviously has lost touch etc. Whatever story they can pull out of their ass for explaining why 10 more people out of the 1000 randomly selected picked candidate X instead of candidate Y in the latest poll.
The polls are worthless, but since most Americans don't know jack about Stat., the media can manipulate them to suit their sensationalist agenda.

Sigh.. (0, Flamebait)

genrader (563784) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338571)

I feel bad for Keyes. I'm surprised he wants to do something like this O_o But on the otherhand, Obama has gotten himself in a good position. I bet Keyes would win in a landslide if people realized Obama has tried and I think has gotten passed a bill that allows live-birth abortions (Mom has baby, says OKAY I DONT WANT IT ANYMORE LOLOLOL, and thirty minute old baby gets its brain sucked out). Obama openly supports it, but he isn't going to be telling anyone until after he's elected.

I think he's right, mostly. (2, Insightful)

Asprin (545477) | more than 9 years ago | (#10338887)


I think Keyes is right about this mostly. Besides if the media weren't spending all their time trying to manufacture news via polls, maybe the'yd have a few extra minutes to check some facts or locate confirming sources of information.

They (the media) are forgetting how to do the one thing that really separates them as a legitimate news source from the tabloids and bloggers, and I think the introduction of manufactured news sources like political polls are partly to blame.

It's not the polls, but the media... (1)

jbarr (2233) | more than 9 years ago | (#10339236)

The pre-election polls themselves are really not the problem--it's how the media spins...er...reports the results. While it would certainly have immense First and Second Amendment Rights implications, I would really like to see a complete campaign-related media blackout for the entire week leading up to and including election day. Then, once the voting is closed, lift the blackout and let the media report the returns. Obviously, you really can't blackout the Internet, but you could blackout TV, Radio, and Newspaper/Magazine media.
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