Don’t put too much faith in early polls

By Karl Terry: Freedom New Mexico columnist

Finally it’s here — election week.

It seems we’ve been embroiled in this presidential campaign since the last one was over. Actually it all started about two years ago.

For eastern New Mexico, it’s one of the most important elections in years if not in my lifetime. We’ll elect new people to one U.S. Senate seat and two U.S. Representative positions in addition to a variety of state positions, including local legislators.

The big deal this year is that we’ve been identified nationally as a battleground state in the presidential election. In years past we’ve been written off as not being important in national politics. That all changed in 2000 when George Bush won the Electoral College count and Al Gore was the winner in the popular vote, throwing that year’s decision into the courtroom.

That was a historic year and I hope we don’t go through it again.

With that said, I truly believe the pollsters predicting an easy win for Barack Obama are going to be removing the egg from their faces on Wednesday. I personally think the race is too close to call once again.

The two candidates are polar opposites and reflect a country that I believe is still schizophrenic when it comes to politics. I don’t think the makeup of likely voters have changed substantially despite claims of successful registration programs by Democrats.

Polls let us down in 2000, predicting a solid Gore lead late in the race. Over and over the same thing has happened during the last several decades. The sad thing is many folks buy into the pollsters’ line of bull. Sadly some may not vote their conscience because of polls.

To me, early voting is further aggravation. We’ve already had incredible numbers locally cast their vote early. I worry about bombshells, candidate health problems and other calamities that could be game changers. What if one occurred after I cast my ballot? Would they let me remark it? I don’t think so.

It’s great that we’re possibly increasing the voter turnout with early voting and mail ballots but I really find it hard to believe that we’re all that busy. Most of the time it only takes a few minutes and employers have to let us exercise our right to vote.

Candidates who count their votes before all the precincts are in and reported are fools. Citizens who neglect their duty to get out and vote Tuesday risk being governed by the most foolish of those fools.

Karl Terry writes for Freedom New Mexico. Contact him at: karlterry@yucca.net