It is amazing how easy we could solve all our problems if we just skipped down the street hand-in-hand with the Toronto Star. If the Star’s editors don’t have all the answers, they can buy opinions from a myriad of writers with the appropriate opinion.
The other day, the Star published an opinion from a gentleman who ran for the NDP a few elections back. It seemed the gentleman thinks that our addiction to polls was to blame for the poor turnout for our recent provincial election. He even had a few thousand heavy words in support of the opinion that publishing the polls was the reason for the problem.
If I had my druthers over the years of working with polls, I would have stayed with the opinion that polls should never be published. The only problem is that I also believe in disclosure and if media outlets want to pay for polls, they should report them accurately to their readers, listeners and viewers.
What I really object to is the aggregators who assemble random published polls, take the liberty of adjusting them for bias and then republishing them. It seems to me that they are really hardening the opinions in them as though they constitute a trend line—which they are not.
Of course, the question as to whether polls are self-fulfilling always comes up. In the recent Ontario election, there was an obvious stagnation in the reported polls that would be reflected by voters. We have been seeing a trend to lower voter turnout in Canadian elections for the last 50 years. The media is just as responsible for that ‘what’s the use’ attitude as are the politicians. The political parties can forecast it in the malaise they find among their traditional volunteer base at the riding level.
We have knowingly destroyed the democracy in the parties in this country and our ultimate reward is the lethargy of the voters. When you take away the rights of the people at the party’s grass roots to choose their candidates, why should they want to work to elect the appointed candidates? When the benefactors, with the money, call the shots in politics, they also expect to be the beneficiaries. And if you tell the truth about our political parties, they treat you as toxic.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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