Monday, October 22, 2012

Rush Limbaugh: Public Opinion Theorist

So speaks Rush Limbaugh about the latest polls going Mitt Romney's way:
We're getting close to the election, and the pollsters want, of course, their final polls to be as close to the real outcome as possible.  So the days of attempting to shift and move public opinion are now dwindling in place of the polls reflecting public opinion.  

Yes, Limbaugh the public opinion theorist, the survey methodologist.

Okay, propagandist is a better word, still you've gotta call out the bullshit when you see it.  And above?  Simple-minded bullshit.

Of course the polls are tightening.  Anyone with a clue knew they would.  If Limbaugh thinks he's impressing anyone, he's not.  "The race for the White House is exactly as I predicted and right on schedule," he says in the same broadcast.  Sorry Rush, everyone (including my cat and my dead dog) knew it'd tighten.  Breaking News -- Not.

First off, Limbaugh assumes polls influence people.  They really don't, at least not the way he thinks they do, and I discussed this briefly the other day.  I know he's not one to let hard data get in the way of a good narrative.  See, after all, his complete misunderstanding and complete bullshit about science.  He's out of his depth there so badly he swerves into fantasy most of the time.  But that's okay, he's playing to his audience.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy listening to Limbaugh.  He got me tenure thanks to my reams of research on the early days of talk radio.  He's funny and an idiot at the same time.  I still remember the first time I listened to him.  A college buddy of mine, back in the late 1980s or so, said I had to listen to a guy on the radio named Rush Limbaugh.  I did.  As God as my witness I thought this was parody, a guy making fun of conservatives (like Colbert does today).

I understand the need to drive audience, to be outrageous, and apparently to call young women sluts to make headlines -- but really, any political pro would tell him -- if they had the balls to do so -- that his analysis above about polls is complete crap. 

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