Polls, polls, and more polls. By this stage of an election year, most political junkies have overdosed on polls, yet still can’t wait until the next one is released. Most of us like them as long as they are favorable to our side, but discount them when they give us bad news. I am one of those who tend to take them with a grain of salt no matter what they say.
All polls are not created equal. Some use solid methods that consistently yield figures pretty close to the actual vote results. Others are consistently wrong, but still manage to rate huge media coverage when released – especially when they show bad news for Republicans.
One informal “poll” that I have found to be at least as accurate as anything Gallop or Zogby has produced is something I call the State Fair Poll (a.k.a. the sticker poll). Every year my family attends the North Carolina State Fair and we always hit the Republican booth and load up on stickers for the various candidates, as well as those with general messages such as “Vote Republican.”
Earlier this week I made my annual pilgrimage to the state fair and once again attempted to conduct my amateur poll.
The most popular sticker at the GOP booth this year was one with a Ghostbusters style logo with Hillary’s name in a red circle with a slash through it. To get that sticker though, a one dollar contribution was suggested. (Republicans don’t expect to get something for nothing, after all). The second most popular was an attractive red, white and blue one from congressional candidate Vernon Robinson (http://www.vernonrobinson.com/) which, quite smartly, included a message about securing the borders.
It is usually pretty easy to tell who will win the November election by keeping a mental count of the number of people at the fair wearing stickers for each party. Most years about one out of every eight to ten people are wearing either Democrat or Republican stickers. This year, however, I only saw a total of about a dozen people wearing any type of political sticker. Out of the handful that I saw, only a couple were wearing Democrat stickers. The rest, including the hippie-looking chick that I would have wrongly guessed to be a hard core liberal, were wearing the Robinson and other GOP stickers. (So much for stereotypes.) Considering I was at the fair for over seven hours and saw thousands of people, it was a bit of a surprise to me that I did not spot more sticker wearers. There are no major statewide races in NC this year though, so this year is unlike many other election years.
In 2004, I wrote about my highly unscientific “sticker poll” as it pertained to the Bush v. Kerry race:
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