Thursday, November 10, 2022

Quote of the Day (Gore Vidal, on Public Opinion)

“At any given moment, public opinion is a chaos of superstition, misinformation, and prejudice.” —American novelist, essayist, and playwright Gore Vidal (1925-2012), “Sex and the Law,” originally published in Partisan Review (Summer 1965), republished in Homage to Daniel Shays: Collected Essays,1952-1972 (1972)

Vidal wrote the above not only when tracking public opinion was still in the early stages of being considered a “science,” but also when most people still accepted the word of official sources. It was also, critically, before the current sledge of digital disinformation.

The “chaos” Vidal referred to more than a half century ago certainly proved to be even more the case in 2016 and 2020. Why did we expect the 2022 midterms to be any different?

At this point, the disparity between voter surveys and the final election results is so wide that the entire polling industry should close up shop. Too many prospective voters won’t answer survey questions because they regard them as either an infringement of their privacy or a diabolical plot by the “progressive media.”

How can pollsters and the party handlers who feed off them claim any validity in their results, given these attitudes?

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