Fun with Polls!

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This morning's New York Times web site has a new poll, and that means it's time for ... Meaningless Data!

According to the poll, 56% of respondents feel "things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track." This is up from December 7th - 10th, 2001, when only 27% were wrong-trackers, so almost 30% of us feel that we've gotten off track sometime in the last fourteen months. When was it? I'm guessing around Game Six of the World Series.

My favorite is from the split questions 5 and 6: When asked what was more important for Congress to concentrate on, people given the three options of terrorism, economics, or Iraq went 41% for the economy, 30% for Iraq, and 23% for the war on terror. The other half of the respondents were given four options, adding North Korea on to the end. Still 41% for the economy, North Korea got 7%, but the war on terror went up to 29%, and Iraq went all the way down to 16%. So, some people presumably would say Iraq rather than terror unless they had the option of saying North Korea, in which case they would say terror. Huh?

Another fun one is to compare Bush's favorable responses on Iraq with Clinton's; the low point for Clinton's was 59% in June of 1993 (remember that?) while W. is currently at 53%. Does that mean that 6% of the people think that Clinton's delay, delay, delay tactic was the right one? Or, more likely, are there a large bunch of people who will never say they approve of Bush, but would always say they approve of Clinton, and vice versa?

My point, not that I have one? Polls are silly, but fun. Don't read the stories if you can read the actual results. And evidently 65% of respondants think that if we do go to war, fewer than 5,000 American soldiers will die.