>Sorry for the conspiracy theory edge to this comment, but I feel
>even worse than Doug about polls, that is that they are worse than
>that they are meaningless at this stage of the game. I cannot put
>it past some sectors to use/influence ( buy) early polls with skewed
>results to influence the formation of public opinion. The small
>samples, may also be consciously biased.
There's a lot wrong with polls - the narrowness of the categories, the forced choices, the attention to horserace matters over substance - but I find it hard to believe they're "manipulated." The people who do them are, as far as I can tell, earnest social scientists who want to do the right thing within the limits of their discipline. They're united in condemning Frank Luntz for spinning polls and focus groups to conform with his right-wing agenda (in fact, the AAPOR has formally condemned Luntz for his Contract With America polling). They're "objective" and "nonpartisan" in the classically American sense.