May 17, 2007

Ron Paul banned from LGF poll

Jesse Walker at Reason's Hit and Run talks about Internet polling, what it's good for, and why it's absurd to exclude a candidate for having exactly what these polls measure: enthusiastic supporters.

Posted by RobbL at May 17, 2007 09:28 AM

Well, that's why Internet polls are pretty silly. Enthusiasm is only a small part of what gets a candidate elected, and on election day, it's just one vote per person. I do think it's too bad that the media elites quickly decide who is a "real" candidate and who isn't, so voters feel that voting a fringe candidate is wasting their vote. The whole point of primaries should be to vote for who you really want, and worry about who could win later. But the front-loaded, media-intense primary system that even over-magnifies straw polls in Iowa destroys the whole point of the primary system.

Posted by: Monkey David at May 17, 2007 05:56 PM

Ron Paul was "banned" from the venerable and prestigious Little Green Footballs "poll." Great God Almighty! How will the Republic survive?

Please Don't go all Alan Keyes on us, Robb.

Posted by: H.L. Monkey at May 17, 2007 08:12 PM

Well, I didn't mean it as "hype-y" as it came out. I don't think I would have even posted, if it weren't for the fact that:

1. Pajamas Media removed Paul from their ballotting, and has since threatened to do it again, for similar reasons.
2. When Paul did so well in the post-debate Fox and MSNBC polls (Fox was a text message poll, and MSNBC was an Internet poll) the pundits immediately rushed to say that Paul's high ratings were meaningless, even though they had earlier been going out of their way to encourage people to participate in the same polls.

Which is why, ultimately, I linked to the Reason article. The point was less that LGF did something slimy (no surprise there) but rather that everybody likes unscientific polls and statistics until they give unexpected results.

The bias is also noteworthy - where are the folks trying to keep Dennis Kucinich out of the debates? They don't exist, because he's not actually disrupting the Democratic status quo. At the same time, when Joe Lieberman spoke heresy about the war, even though he could and did win his election, his party disowned hiim. Ironically, the same folks who rode the Democrats for kicking out Lieberman are suddenly all for kicking Ron Paul out of the Republican tent, even though he's pro-life, anti-immigration, and generally in step with the party platform on every issue except the war, and he justifies his opposition to the war on traditional Republican/conservative grounds.

As David said, the primary system was, in part, designed to allow vigorous debate within the party. Sadly, the Democrats are a little better about this than Republicans. This cycle, the Republicans seem bent on turning the primary into a vote on who's going to be the coolest president of the frat house.

Posted by: Monkey RobbL at May 18, 2007 12:30 PM