One of these days, the pollster is going to go the way of the snake oil salesman. Really, there's no difference between those two professions other than the amount of uranium they encourage people to drink. They both clamor for attention, they both take advantage of whatever ills are most common in modern society and they both sell a product that is utterly meaningless and most likely harmful. Take, for instance, the recent Gallup poll that says, in the most vague terms possible, that I'd lose the election were it held today.
Let's be clear about what this poll actually says. In essence, it states that a series of telephone respondents said they'd rather vote for an unnamed Republican candidate than me, but just barely. So, I would basically lose to an imaginary, ideal candidate who is categorically defined as my opponent. Yes, an unnamed Republican, not a specific one. Respondents were more or less asked to envision anybody who is not the sitting President, slap an elephant pin on his or her lapel and call that mystery person a contender.
Imaginary candidates always win. It's easy to see why. They don't have flaws, scandals or ugly faces. Their policies are whatever we want them to be and their cabinets could be dream teams made up of any collection of individuals in the world. Not so with actual candidates. In fact, I roundly trounce any of the Republican hopefuls according to other, less ridiculous polls. Mr. Mystery Candidate could beat me, but Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin or Tim Pawlenty couldn't. The funny part is that Unnamed Candidate only barely beats me. He scrapes by with 47% of the vote in a time when I have done little campaigning and the media is fixated on the shabby Republican field. So, to summarize, I only lose the election when I'm not trying, my opponent is an optimal phantom and only according to those who would take the time to respond to a telephone poll concentrating on Republican politics.
In the meantime, I'm actually taking steps to quietly and meaningfully secure my likely re-election. That's what the Puerto Rico trip was all about, after all. Between old Jews and the Latino vote, I'm pretty sure I could clinch Florida. Hell, if I could get the Spanish-speaking population on my side I could give Texas a run for its money. That'd be sweet, taking a Republican stronghold just because I can. Because, see, that's the reality of Presidential politics. Not silly polls with imaginary candidates, but real, targeted demographics and a charismatic attitude. In the latter department, I don't think I have anything to worry about. I mean, people saw the New Hampshire GOP debate. The only one who made a lick of sense was Ron Paul and his platform seems to be "Lecture anyone who will listen until they wish they were somewhere else". Mr. Imaginary Republican may have me beat, but he still belongs to a party of flesh-and-blood dunces.