A political poll is not exactly a book.
The key word here is “exactly.” There is a distinctive similarity between the two items. Both are meant to be read, or avoided, as the case may be.
I make this subtle point in refutation of my editor’s claim that I should not be columnizing about political polls, that I should, rather, be seeking out books warning my readers not to buy.
Which polls, the reader may well ask, should be avoided?
Instead of enumerating the vast number of deficient polls, I will simply set forth a standard that none of them, to my knowledge, meets:
An accurate poll in this political season would be one that includes (1) dead American citizens whose civil rights have been heretofore abrogated and (2) talking American parrots over the age of 18.
How many presidential preference polls meet this stringent standard? (If you know of one, please inform me via either e-mail or, preferably, telepathy.)
Clearly, then, the findings of the vast majority of polls are skewed. For whatever reasons—the absence of an up-to-date methodology, the prejudice against the dead, the ignorance of the intelligence of parrots, etc.—we at present have no idea how America will vote come election day.
My faith in the essential goodness, fairness, and intelligence of the average American voter leads me to believe that my candidacy for the highest office in the land will cause voters to respond positively to the principles of the Dead Rights Party. In my optimistic yet realistic view, the pollsters will be forced to move my name from the “Other” category to one of its own. By convention time, I will be considered a legitimate candidate for president. After Labor Day, my numbers will exceed those of the redoubtable gentleman who is presently cast in the role of the spoiler. I will be invited to participate in the presidential debates. My reasoned opinions will be the subject of the most profound columns. In late October, I will be running a close third behind the two front-runners, who will attempt to stench the flow of blood by endorsing my proposals.
I do not predict victory. All I can say with more than a modicum of certainty is that my campaign will change the political landscape for the rest of the 21st century.