Thursday, January 10, 2008

The trouble with polls

I am having major email problems right now and am again facing the prospect of losing easy access to a little more than three years of email exchanges starting at the time that my son was called up for duty in Iraq. They are backed up and we'll see if they can be restored.

In the meantime, I ran across this email which is reminiscent of what is happening with the polling data in the current primary races. How soon we forget how wrong the polls were in 2006, too:

Here's most of an email that I wrote in an exchange with a journalist on October 31, 2006:

"I do agree with you about not being able to read what is going on. In Minnesota, for instance, a University of Minnesota poll is now reporting that our incumbent governor, Tim Pawlenty (R), is behind 39 to 45 against the former attorney general, Mike Hatch (D). The last approval poll I saw for Pawlenty (about a month ago) had him at 54 percent approval among Minnesotans. The economy is very good here. Frankly, life does not get much better anywhere else. How can this incumbent be losing?

I do appreciate hearing, too, your inside thoughts. They make sense...the one I'd like to respond to, though, is your irritation with Iraq. Here's what jumped out:

You said: 'When they made the decision to go to war, Bush and the cabinet should have discussed and thought about the enormous nation-building exercise they were signing on for, and the American people's limited patience for it.'

My friend, *we* all made the decision to go to war through our elected representatives - not only Bush and his appointees, but also through my senator, Norm Coleman, and my representative, Mark Kennedy and all the other senators and representatives who overwhelmingly approved of our military action in Iraq.

*We* did it.

And it is our responsibility to finish what we started.

Trust me, ********, I have glimpsed the ravages of war... I've watched a pro-American Iraqi journalist (********* *******) turn into a hate-filled Bush-basher, I will never forget the tragedy of Steven Vincent's death at the hands of religious fanatics, and I very recently went through a weekend with a close friend who mistakenly thought her marine-reserve son was being called up for duty. None of this is pleasant.

But do you want to talk about irritation? It would be beyond irritation to watch 26 million people being slaughtered by each other as we pull out. It would be beyond irritation to think that my son spent a year in 120 degree heat and gave it his all for a mission for which now one eager-war-supporter after another wants to throw in the towel. And it would be beyond irritation to live in a country where, like in Europe, the population is too timid to face the evil of shari'a. Because if we lose in Iraq, there is no stopping Muslim radicalism anywhere else. Not in our lifetimes.

Sorry if I sound a little preachy. I am very worried, however, about a Speaker of the House Pelosi, and folks like Carl Levin and Charlie Rangel being in charge of important committees in the Senate and House. I do not want to live through the late sixties and early seventies again. Although I am barely old enough to remember much past a fairly idyllic childhood in rural Minnesota, I know that Dems running wild through the chambers of Congress cannot be a good thing. Last week Peggy Noonan said something about folks not wanting to associate with being part of a political base anymore, they see themselves as independent thinkers. Well, not this woman...I am voting for Mark Kennedy as senator simply because he is a Republican. I guess I'm now part of the Republican base."

By the way - the polls were very wrong in Minnesota in October 2006, too, and I'm happy to say that Tim Pawlenty is still our governor.

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