Several years ago, a major magazine had an online poll that allowed visitors to submit nominations for the most important person of the century. The winner? Kamal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey. So far as the magazine could tell, there’d been an online “get out the vote” campaign for Ataturk– a not insignificant figure in 20th century history, but rarely a candidate for most important.
Today’s Wired News reports that an American Family Association poll concerning gay marriage was pulled after the results started going in a direction the AFA didn’t like. What I especially like in the AFA’s response is the combination of petulence over activists’ swamping the poll, and a virtual admission that the problem isn’t that the results were skewed, but that they skewed the wrong way. As AFA representative Buddy Smith put it,
homosexual activist groups around the country got a hold of the poll — it was forwarded to them — and they decided to have a little fun, and turn their organizations around the country (onto) the poll to try to cause it to represent something other than what we wanted it to. And so far, they succeeded with that.
It reminds me of the scene in The Sting when Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman’s character) out-cheats Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw) at poker….