Wednesday 9 January 2008

He´s Barack but she´s back

Polling falsehoods

Once again the mystery of American electioneering unravelled before our eyes as the results came in for the New Hampshire presidential primaries.

As it transpired Senator John McCain, 71, took the spoils for the Republicans whilst the big-spending Governor Mitt Romney who was governor of the neighbouring state of Massachusetts came in second.

As for the pollsters, there is a dividend of democratic resolve that they and the news agencies are not willing to pay and they obscure reality if not will the result to a situation that should not normally exist.

First, they put Senator Barack Obama at double-digit percentage points ahead of Senator Hillary Clinton and they were baying to give the nomination to Senator Obama – this did not turn out as they expected and we now have to hear a lot of excuses.

Then, they declared the result for Hillary Clinton with 40% of the vote to be counted and only a 3% difference between Clinton and Obama – it got me worried that things could still change.

Dummies guide to false predictions

There is probably an art or dare I say, a science to psephology, but I am only convinced of the historical significance of this study than for the prognostication that derives from trying to predict with any accuracy the will of the people, because it no doubt gets abused in contemporary commentary.

This whole impatience to declare a result before every single vote is counted bothers me especially when we are regaled with the phrase – “Too close to call”, if it is not clear, why not then wait till it is all done – it was what made a complete mess of the 2000 Presidential elections.

Beyond that, too much credence has been given to the youth vote; but it is one thing to attract pop concert audiences, it is another thing to take them to ballot box afterwards – it is possible that the message of change was still not convincing enough to persuade the young to get off their fat arses and move beyond the entertainment of great oratory.

A Moses not Joshua

Senator Obama inspires me with his talk of change and it sounds very much like change I can believe in, but when everyone starts to speak of change because of the groundswell of interest that Senator Obama brings to this contest, we begin to look into how that change can be made – that is where we need an agent for change.

Somehow, drawing on Scripture for buttress a point, Senator Obama sees the promised land and he would lead the political debate towards the change required in the way things are done in Washington, but it requires a Joshua to take us into that promised land – I see Moses talking and Joshua is waiting somewhere in the wings and no, she would not be doing the ironing as one sexist heckler opined through a placard protest – even America still has a long way to go on these matters.

Two states and 0.5% of the American population down, 48 (Maybe 49) to go and still 99.5% to decide.

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