As I mentioned in a previous post, I believe the day is coming in which there will be an upset in the roles traditional media and polling play in elections, where they will be replaced by the Internet. I don’t know if we’ve reached that day yet, but there is a striking disparity between the two sources of data regarding Ron Paul.
Ron Paul’s website is trouncing the other Republican candidates in visitors, despite being a crappy website:
He’s also beating the leading Democratic offerings:
He’s also winning, or coming in second, on many online or SMS polls regarding the Republican debates.
Paul is the top search on Technorati’s blog search:
But, in traditional polls, Paul is consistently fourth or fifth, after Giuliani, Romney, McCain, and sometimes Thompson (I can’t keep up with which Thompson), with single digit percentages. So, where’s the disparity? How can there be such a big difference? Traditional polling uses land line telephone calls to likely voters. I don’t have a land line. I don’t know anyone, other than my parents and my older sister, with a land line. So, a good percentage of people under about 35 are under-represented in these polls. That’s probably OK for accuracy on the lower end of the age scale, since the people least likely to have a land line (those under about 24) don’t vote…so the skew might be good for overall accuracy. But, telephone polls have become less likely to predict outcomes in elections over the past few election cycles. Internet polls have never been accurate, but maybe they’ll become more accurate as more people begin to get all of their news online and identity becomes more solid on the Internet. Interesting that the mainstream sites are far less likely to know how accurate their voting is than sites like Reddit or Digg or Slashdot, simply because readers aren’t involved in the process and so are unknown anonymous readers rather than editors and participants.
Anyway, despite all that we’d like to think about Democracy in America, the fact is that the candidate with the most money to spend generally wins. Paul isn’t bringing the big bucks, since he isn’t in any corporate pockets like the other candidates, so probably couldn’t win against a fat-pocketed corporate shill. His nomination could save the GOP from itself, however, and would certainly go a long way to convince me that it’s worth saving. Hell, I’d be proud to call myself a Republican if Ron Paul were the nominee. Otherwise, I guess I’ll have to vote Democrat…at least they haven’t been in power long enough to gerrymander, commit voter fraud on a wholesale basis, and otherwise use every despicable trick available to them to win elections at any cost.