The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 11, 2012

Our View: Polls don’t vote for presidents

The Joplin Globe

— In our view, polls are like oddsmaker predictions for football games. They can swing in an instant one way or another.

A week before the first presidential debate, the Pew Poll, one that is generally respected for fairness, showed President Barack Obama leading former Gov. Mitt Romney 51 percent to 43 percent. A couple of days after that first debate, the results were Romney leading Obama 49 percent to 45 percent, a swing of 12 percentage points.

Were either of the two polls inaccurate, or in fact did American public opinion swing by 12 percent or so in a week? That would reflect a change in voter opinion of over 14 million potential voters come Nov. 6. That is a huge amount of votes if it takes only about 60 million favorable votes to win the election.

As well, we are being told by national media sources that the presidential election will be decided only in “battleground” states like Ohio, Virginia, Florida, etc. We suppose then, if you believe everything you hear, our votes in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma mean little or nothing, right?

Our point is simple. Why would any responsible voter cast a ballot as a result of the influence from polls?

Our individual votes should be the results of careful individual decisions taking into account the confidence in the future leadership, the ability of a candidate to make the correct decisions in the future and get others to follow his lead. We need a president who will help all Americans, not just various groups of Americans.

Voters should not be mobs urged on by sound bites, vague and questionable promises or mass opinion that swings all the time, at the drop of a hat so to speak in today’s world of instant communications. Our future prosperity and protection in America will turn on effective leadership from a president to a great degree.

Great leaders are not made by polls. They are created by long experience, courage and a keen sense of what is right to do.