Friday, August 2, 2013

Newt Gingrich's Loaded Poll

This "quick poll" tells us more about the devious mind that designed it than about either Americans' opinions of our past Presidents or the information on which those opinions are based.

"Friend,

Our new poll lets you pick who you think the best President of the last 85 years was! The last 85 years of American history have been the most productive in the history of the world with amazing successes from the moon landing to winning the Cold War. The men who led our nation during this period of remarkable historical significance all have their unique legacies and traits - but who was best?

Go vote, make your voice heard and see who is winning!
Vote today and pick the best President of the last 85 years!

"

I took the survey because it reminded me of the "Presidential Smackdown" in one of Glenn Beck's books...but, although a complete "Presidential Smackdown" poll provides an amusingly skewed, misleading impression of both the opinions and the historical knowledge of the people polled, this one's not a complete "smackdown." It's a parody of one. Only ten former Presidents are paired, and the five pairings are deliberately set up in such a way that Republicans will come out ahead. No chance to compare, say, Jimmy Carter (not the most "effective" President, but still an influential man, thirty years later) with John F. Kennedy (a war hero while living and a cherished icon now, but more because he died young than because he accomplished a lot as President).

What, exactly, is this doing for the friends of Newt Gingrich? Is it making you more likely to vote for more Republicans in November, if you normally vote a mixed ticket? Probably not; it's pretty obvious. But it is confirming your e-mail address on their mailing list...if you want to be on their mailing list.