Do You Really Give a Hoot What 710 Voters Think?

By Patricia L Johnson

122,295,345 votes were cast in the 2004 election for presidential candidates, yet Americans seem content to sit listening to the news and actually care what a few Iowa voters think.  I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve heard, or read, that the Democrats now have a three way tie in Iowa, with Obama leading the pack with 28% of the vote based on the latest poll.

That may mean something to someone, but I really couldn’t care less if 140 people in Iowa prefer Obama over Clinton or Edwards or Barney Fife, for that matter.

What 710 people sitting around cornfields in Iowa think about the candidates means virtually nothing to me, yet American voters seem to put so much stock in the Iowa caucuses.

Let’s take a real look at the latest poll on presidential candidates in Iowa.  The poll consisted of 500 likely Democratic caucus participants and 500 likely Republican caucus participants.  The poll was taken November 25 through November 29 and the participants were asked to identify their pick for president.

While the top three in the Republican Party received 66% of votes with only 4% of participants undecided, the top three in the Democratic Party received 76% of the votes with 7% undecided.

The difference in votes between Obama’s 140 and Edwards 115 is only 25 while uncommitted votes represent a total of 35 votes.

What I find interesting about the latest poll is the number of actual participants polled.  The October 1-3 2007 poll consisted of 804 participants – 399 from the Democratic Party and 405 from the Republican Party, while the prior poll completed on May 12-16, 2007 consisted of 801 participants – 400 from the Democratic Party and 401 from the Republican Party.

These polls may influence some voters in our country, but all they do is leave me with unanswered questions.  Why did the first two polls have a different number of participants from each party?  Where did they come up with the additional 200 participants for the latest poll?  What is the criterion for participating in an Iowa caucus poll?  How would the poll results from the first two polls differ if the additional 200 participants had voted?

When are the voters in this country going to wake up and ignore the polls that only represent a minuscule number of voters, ignore the media hype, ignore the personalities and concentrate on what is important to Americans and that is the candidates position on the issues?


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