Vaulting Over the Polls

Here is an incontrovertible fact: there are more people who think John McCain will lose the election than there are people who want John McCain to lose the election.  This fact alone, if allowed to remain place, may be sufficient in itself to sink his campaign.

It is a fact of human nature that the more enthusiasm a person brings to a project, the more likely he is to see it to completion.  The same proportions apply to the level of workmanship he will invest.  If he really believes in what he is making, it is more likely to emerge with exceptional polish.

Thus, if you are excited to vote for a candidate, you are more likely to convince others to do the same.  You are more likely to donate time and money in helping your candidate have the necessary resources to succeed.  And you are most likely to remember the most important task: voting on Election Day.

This sort of excitement is generally achieved when the candidate fully represents your views.  It also helps when you like elements of his character: strength, confidence, wittiness, openness, gentleness.  If you know him or members of his family personally, that could help.  But a key factor is your sense that he has a good shot at winning.

The Democrats, and their media co-conspirators, have always understood this very well.  They know that if they can skew the poll numbers enough early, they have a chance of convincing voters that sending checks and casting ballots are futile.  Very few people have the level of gumption to throw their assets into lost causes.

The effort to portray the McCain candidacy as equivalent to Ralph Nader’s and Bob Barr’s in its likelihood of success is well underway.  Every headline from the mainstream media about the election is a variation on this theme.  “Trailing Badly, McCain Seeks New Message.”  “Facing Uphill Battle, McCain Launches New Attacks.”  Or here is one that is up at Yahoo as I write: “Lagging in Polls, McCain Debuting ‘Comeback’ Speech”.

Now, there is no virtue in being a Pollyanna, and the campaign needs to shore up elements of its approach.  In a separate essay, I will outline certain basic strategies that can help right the ship.  For the purposes of this discussion, that is not relevant.  The commitment I am calling for here is simple: if you want McCain to win, go out and vote for him no matter what the polls say.  You can help even in a blue State to boost the popular vote, but getting into a blue state of mind is destructive.

If every McCain voter shows up and he loses anyway, then we will have an accurate reading of the mood of the country.  It will be possible to say with assurance that the approach of the Democrats has prevailed.  If Republicans stay home and create a self-fulfilling prophecy of defeat, they might well cheat themselves out of a victory that was attainable.

People who do what I do for a (sort of) living have seen this tactic used successfully many times before.  In every Presidential election, without fail, support for the Democrat is overstated in polls, at least until the last few days.  At that time, polling outfits sharpen their process to more closely reflect reality.  They drop advocacy in favor of accuracy, so they can prove afterwards that they predicted the result.

Predicting the result is what polls should be doing.  Skewed early polls do something else entirely, they create the result.  Republican voters have already learned not to trust their elementary school teachers, their high school teachers, their college professors, their newspapers and their TV anchors.  It is time they learn to drop a big grain of salt into the poll numbers as well.  Their team may not have the better cheerleaders but they still have the better players.