NPV’s Frivolous Polling

2010/02/23
By

The numbers aren't all they're made out to be

As I walked through the Wisconsin State Capitol last week talking with legislators and legislative staff, I saw the effects of citizens in action. Throughout the day, radio stations were alerting listeners about the bill. Several legislative staff members told me that calls and emails were coming in strong–and strongly against NPV.

The experience illustrates two problems with NPV’s polling, which reliably shows support for direct election of the President.

First, the average American doesn’t spend a lot of time studying and pondering the Electoral College. What a person says when put on the spot by NPV’s telephone poll is almost irrelevant to what he or she might think after considering both sides of the issue. One pollster I know has told me flat out that a poll is meaningful only to the extent that those answering the questions know their answers before being questioned. When we come up with them on the spot, as many NPV poll respondents surely do, we reserve the right to change our minds.

Inside Wisconsin's Capitol

Second, even if a lot of Americans do support some kind of direct national election for President, that position is not a mass motivator (there may have been a window after 2000 when it was, but it isn’t now). NPV is not part of a mass movement; it’s a collection of lobbyists paid with lottery royalties. On the other hand, there is a group of Americans who understand deep down that this nation was set up as a federal constitutional republic. These folks understand this issue, know which side they’re on, and do not soon forget those who betray republican principles.

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