Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Problem with National Polls

First and foremost, let it be known that I LOVE polls! It is a pulse of the living and breathing free republican democracy in which we live! Knowing that there are so many people free and willing to give their opinion on how our government and way of life should be molded... well, it is all a sign that freedom is still alive and well in the US.

But recently I have been plagued by the national presidential polls. I keep hearing about the almost certain general election showdown between Rudy and Hillary. National polls show one edging out the other on any given day. And it is right time that we all shake off the results of these polls and understand that the United States does not elect a President in the General election based on a national popularity vote... we use the amazing Electoral College System.

The great thing about the Electoral College system is that it forces candidates to campaign in the "flyover states" as well as in the big cities of New York and Los Angeles. It ensures that the "little guys" have power via delegates that takes away from the sheer quantity of citizens (and sometimes illegally voting non-citizens) found in the big cities.

So the question that I have for these poll takers is this: Where are you making your phone calls? Do they call Farmer Henry in Nowhere Kansas and Forest Ranger Steve in Montana, or do they make calls to Tom, Dick, and Harry living in St.Louis, New York, and San Francisco?

The problem with the National Polls is that when Hillary loses the General election, there is going to be a huge outcry because she was leading the national polls, and further calls for the elimination of the Electoral College System of voting in favor of Mob Rule.

The question is going to be this: Which candidate can pick up, for their respective parties, states that traditionally have supported one party over the other? Consider the 2004 results map:
The national polls, as fun as they are, should be replaced with a poll facing the candidates off in a state by state match-up, and determining which gains can be made.

In a Rudy/Clinton match up, there has been much discussion about a third party contender taking a large split of the votes... this is not a new concept. Consider the Bull Moose party of Teddy Roosevelt, splitting the Republican vote and delivering electoral victory to Woodrow Wilson. This was a case where a third party candidate actually received electoral votes... the cause? The Republican party had shifted too far from it's platform.

What states could Clinton steal? Perhaps Florida is in play... Perhaps Nevada and New Mexico... and Ohio is always a key player... But if she were head to head with a Liberal candidate like Rudy, who knows where the states would go.

What about Rudy... could he take New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania? Perhaps...

But what if a conservative third party candidate were to take the stage? This could throw the "fly-over states" into a Democratic win overall, as these states may give their electoral votes to the third party candidate, or split the Republican ticket so badly that Hillary wins the state.

But if the GOP elects a conservative candidate that rallies the base, one could expect that the electoral map would not vary much from the above image, and the Republicans would continue to hold on to the White House.

So, I say, enough with the attention on the National Polls... what are the state by state results, and how do the match-ups in those states relate to electoral votes? Who, then, will the victor be?

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