Thursday, January 19, 2006

Ridiculous public opinion polls

This is such nonsense.

These sorts of opinion polls are meaningless. Do you think that there are 10,000 people in all of Canada who can even name 5 supreme court opinions, other than the Separation Reference and the Same Sex Marriage Reference? Or even name five justices? Sure, they might be able to articulate the words "politics has tained the Supreme Court," but then if asked to explain exactly how, they could no more give a meaningful answer (other than invoking the shibboleth of "activist judges") than they could translate R. v. Oakes from English or French into Amharic.

These sorts of polls should be prefaced with a qualification quiz. And polls like this make me believe there should be a basic qualifying exam before people are allowed to vote in an election. When you have, as here in the US, 12% of the population believing that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife, trusting complex matters of national policy to an unthinking, uninformed electorate means politicians pander to fears, make populist arguments that ignore nuance, ignore meaning, and ignore any sort of substance.

No comments: