I love Election Day, mostly because the incessant political ads stop hitting every screen I have, my snail-mail box, my telephone, and the radio. Hopefully these folks will clear the roadways of their campaign detritus as well.
Of course, I love it for other reasons tool, mostly the big one – the right to vote is the single biggest freedom we have – if we can’t vote, all of the other freedoms are imperiled. Hopefully you’ve exercised that right and no complaining about results or policy if you haven’t.
Even though we don’t do politics here, let me also add that I am ashamed that someone working on behalf of either a party or candidate would engage in “voter suppression” activities. They’re vile, un-American, and unfortunately they’re very real and going on all over today. Why would anyone think they can claim a victory of any sort having done something to keep voters from expressing their will? Which leads to today’s business point.
There are a ton of polls available which project winners and losers. It’s always fun to see who was accurate and why. The media don’t really present that information after the fact but it’s a great lesson to all of us who base decisions upon research. For example, many polls are based on a telephone sample. Those generally don’t include people whose primary telephone doesn’t involve a land-line. As of May, 25% of homes didn’t have a land-line. Could you field research with bias like that built-in?
Another issue for business folks is the misinterpretation of data. Today, some politician or party will claim victory and say their victory is a mandate. The reality is that 80%+ of voters say they just want to toss out the incumbent, whomever he or she may be, and make a fresh start. That’s not a mandate for anything other than someone else, regardless of their policies or party (and given some of the candidates, you know something else must be going on).
I also heard a TV report about low approval ratings for the President, even among Democrats. What that report didn’t identify was that many of the Democrats disapproving of Obama‘s policies think he hasn’t gone far enough, not, as Republicans say, that he’s gone too far. Yet the two negative points of view are reported together.
As businesspeople, we need to dig deeply enough that we’re sure we’re drawing the right conclusions from correctly gathered data. In a few hours, we’ll all see how well the pollsters did. Over the next few years, we’ll see how well the voters did.