I saw this astounding figure that approximately 70 percent of Republicans believe that the poll numbers on the presidential race are biased towards President Obama. In other words, they are asserting that because President Obama has been—at least at the time of this column – ahead in most polls, this cannot be correct and the media must be mucking around.
It is important to put this sentiment in context. This is the same Republican Party where more than 60 percent of its members believe that President Obama was not born in the U.S. Despite the incontrovertible evidence, most Republican voters wish to believe otherwise. I would love to think that this was a comedy routine but it is reality.
To understand how 70 percent of Republicans would believe that the polls are biased, you have to appreciate their inability to recognize the nature of the changes underway in the country. To the extent to which they believe that this is a ‘White republic,’ where the rest of us are barely-tolerated visitors, the polls don’t make any sense. After all, from their perspective, there is no way that the U.S.A. should have a Black president, and, more importantly, there is no way that the demographics of the U.S.A. should be changing in the manner in which they are – towards a society where there is no White majority.
There is no way of knowing how the elections will turn out. The fact that President Obama has been ahead in most polls is striking, particularly given the depth of the economic crisis. Such ratings have to indicate that large numbers of people have little confidence in the vision articulated by Romney/Ryan, but also that there is a sense when looking at the pictures of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, that this gathering (and this Party) bore no resemblance to the reality of the nation. It looked like something very alien and for that matter, something very scary.
While President Obama may be slightly ahead in the polls, the only poll that really matters is to be held on Nov. 6 when we actually vote. Despite all of the efforts by the Republicans to reduce voter turnout by the elderly, the youth, by people of color, by union members and by gays/lesbians, the bottom line will be the determination of those same constituencies that were not in evidence at the Tampa Republican Convention to mobilize in the interest of justice. This will take us further down the road, away from the racist and archaic notion of a ‘White republic’ (for the rich), and instead in the direction of a more consistent democracy.
Forget the opinion polls and just make sure to vote on Nov. 6.
Bill Fletcher Jr. is a senior scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum and the author of “They’re Bankrupting Us” – And Twenty Other Myths about unions.” He can be reached at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org” email@example.com.