Why Public Opinion Polls Are Worthless

Sigh…

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Three quarters of Americans can correctly identify two of Show White’s seven dwarfs while only a quarter can name two Supreme Court Justices, according to a poll on pop culture released on Monday.

It is this disconnect and apathy on the part the general American public (the portion of the population that doesn’t spending their free time analyzing the tax code and religiously following every political news story that breaks) is part of why the war in Iraq and President Bush himself are both polling so low.
Most of the public doesn’t take the time to research the major issues of our day. Most of them credulously buy into whatever they read in the newspaper or see on television. If the public is fed nothing but a steady diet of negativity and thinly-veiled anti-Bush, anti-Republican, anti-war rhetoric what else would other idea would you expect them to have than a vague notion that President Bush and the decision to invade Iraq were both the wrong idea.
Maybe this is just me being cynical, but there are a lot of polls out there like the one above. Like this one where most respondents couldn’t answer simple questions like who the secretary of state is and this one where a significant portion of respondents couldn’t remember what year 9/11 occurred in. Or even this one where 70% of respondents said we should pull out of Iraq even as 91% answered questions about whether or not we should keep some level of troops in Iraq affirmatively.
I can’t help but feel that the public at large, the vast majority of the populace who are simply living their lives relatively out of touch with day-to-day political events, are grossly ill-informed, mislead and when asked about their political views are mostly just re-hashing whatever they heard last on CNN.

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