Monday, May 11, 2009

On Polls and Information Sources

I think this poll is rather frightening:

"Given a choice of three options, just 24% of voters can correctly identify the cap-and-trade proposal as something that deals with environmental issues. A slightly higher number (29%) believe the proposal has something to do with regulating Wall Street while 17% think the term applies to health care reform. A plurality (30%) have no idea. "

It astounds me how uninformed so many people are. I don't say that trying to fluff my own feathers, because while I know every single day that I have a lot to learn, I do make an effort to stay informed.

Many people just don't care about politics and would rather leave it to the people in Washington they've elected. Many people find politics boring. Many people have lousy hometown newspapers. Not everybody stays tuned in to a news channel. Whatever excuse - the fact remains that this poll is quite likely very true. Many people don't know what cap and trade is. Or what socialism is. Or who the vice-president is.

I used to think those "man on the street" interviews were just set up, but now I don't think so. You'd get some radio person or tv person to go out and find the lowest schmuck in the shallowest gene pool and start asking him to name the members of the Supreme Court or even how many members there are, and the guy is all ... " Uh.... dude, wasn't that Diana Ross?"

Even on a local scale this sad fact exists. There are LARGE numbers of people in Louisiana that don't realize that their taxpayer dollars in the budget each year go to fund things like the Martin Luther King Neighborhood Association in (any city), or the Purple Circle Social Club in New Orleans (they needed a tree removed from their property). We have a sorry newspaper in Shreveport - just the facts. It's a TERRIBLE newspaper. And they don't report these things.

My mother just canceled her Sunday paper, by the way, because it's 80% sales circulars, 15% ads, and 5% frivolous articles that have been recycled from other newspapers.

The point is that I suspect this Rasmussen poll is pretty accurate. And that scares me to death because if we don't stay informed and involved in the political process, if we just "leave it to the people we elected" then we'll wake up one day wondering what the heck happened to our country. I'm already wondering that, but that's beside the point.

You don't have to be an activist to be interested in what's going on. You have avenues of information. My mother, for example, quit the Sunday paper but still takes two other papers and watches cable news (two different channels). She's in no way a news junkie or an activist. But she likes to know what's going on.

When I hear things like the Rasmussen poll referenced above, it makes me realize the value of blogs, newspapers, internet, and other periodicals that people can use to stay informed.

We have spirited discussions in the comments on this blog, sometimes, and sometimes people are nasty and insulting, but hopefully, the process serves to inform. And ultimately that's better than not knowing, most of the time, anyway.

1 comment:

Bride Of Rove said...

Very VERY true. The Miami Herald just promoted Myriam Marquez - a horrific yellow journalist if ever there was one - to the editorial board. They cancelled Acion Line - the most popular column in the paper. theyve fired pretty much everyone worth keeping. People don't read and they don't care.