Monday, April 4

THE POLLS HAVE BECOME THE MESSAGE

Back on March 28th, I published this post on the issue of "polling" and its impact on the Terri Schiavo controversy, linking to JunkYardBlog. Many of we "pro-lifers" following the case closely suspected in the tradition of the famous Marshall McLuhan observation ("The medium is the message") that polling had become the message. In other words, frame the question in a way to derive the response you want from John Q. Public and you can drive an agenda. In this case, what was being driven was a "culture of death" philosophy in the great tradition of the nihilists.

Yesterday, "The Anchoress" drove home that very point in this incisive post.

In recalling the many polls, cited wide and far, showing the vast majority of Americans endorsing what Michael Schiavo was doing in prevailing in the courts to have his wife's hydration and feeding tube removed -- in securing her court-ordered death warrant -- "The Anchoress" points to a new Zogby poll having far different results when the question posed was framed differently and more fairly:

Recall that the questions they asked asked the question in a very specific way,which I am tired so I'm just going to paraphrase for now: "Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegatative state, and has been for 15 years, she is in a coma and will never recover, should she be taken off life support?"

Well...sure...you ask a question like that...you'll get a number like 68% saying, "yes, let the poor woman die..."

Then Zogby
asks the question a different way:

"If a disabled person is not terminally ill, not in a coma, and not being kept alive on life support, and they have no written directive, should or should they not be denied food and water," the poll asked.

A whopping 79 percent said the patient should not have food and water taken away while just 9 percent said yes.

We all knew it, didn't we? We knew that if how a question is phrased has everything to do with how it is answered.
Too little, too late? Not really. You could have stuffed this poll down Judge George Greer's throat and he'd have still danced to the beat of George Felos' drum. The law is what the activist judges want to read into it, just as most polling results are more the products of the framers of the questions than how Americans genuinely feel on a subject. As I was taught in college, one must become a critical reader!