The results of a Fairleigh Dickinson-PublicMind Poll of New Jersey voters suggests that the number of people who approve of Governor Christie’s behavior is greater than the number of people who disapprove. The poll also suggested that the number of people with an favorable opinion of the New Jersey Education Association is just 40% of voters (the percentage of negative opinions is about the same, with nearly 10% undecided)
But who is being polled? (Most likely old people)
The inherent problem with most of these polls is that most, if not all of the calls, go to people with those old fashioned land lines, who tend to be older, more set in their ways, and more conservative. Younger, and more active, people all have mobile phones. Ask most 20 and 30 somethings and the last time they had a mobile phone was when they lived with their parents.
When I first moved to the Garden State I was told that in order to register to vote, have a library card, and register for the Nutley School System a local (Nutley) number was required. Doesn’t the title deed, driver’s license, water bill, tax bill, utility bill etc prove residency? Apparently not. I was told by the Board of Education that if my mobile phone was a NJ number they might accomodate me, but why would I give up the phone numbers I have had for 12 years? My California numbers were MY NUMBERS. The library was accomodating to get a first card but I could not get it renewed after a year (so they lost me as a patron and donor).
My personal stories of frustration in the townships is not about the sillyness of Nutley, but rather about the generational misgivings about technology. I was shut out of participating in the community simply because I did not want to submit to early 20th Century technology and instead chose to remain the very model of a modern major gentleman. With the exception of the library, I won.
But here is where I become a symbol of the problem with polling and the political process. Having only mobile phones, chances are I will not receive any poll calls, and most likely others who are younger and mobile, will not get them either. So the most of these polls have an inherent flaw – the sample is highly targeted toward one mindset.
There is a silver lining, at least for residents of New Jersey. Governor Christie is such a popularity whore that he believes that everyone adores him and to hell with everyone else. As his cuts to programs for veterans, the disabled, the mentally retarded, and schools take hold no amount of flawed polling will hide the fact that the emperor has no clothes.