SARGE: Bad Juju

Juju is a word of French/West African origin. It refers specifically to objects, such as amulets, and spells used superstitiously as part of witchcraft in West Africa.

Voodoo has a long history of practice by African slaves imported into the Louisiana culture. Voodoo, a religion with roots deeply placed in the history and culture of its practitioners, contributes to the vibrancy of cultures long thought inferior to Caucasian in their practice of religiosity. To me, Voodoo is as valid as any other religions with specific dogma and doctrines and practical, formal ceremonies to entreat the god(s). These supplications are used to seek intervention by powerful spirits and entities acting as agents of the god or gods. The use of Juju allegedly focuses the attention and power of the practitioner to pass the veils and intermediary levels of mysticism to enact an intervention from the god for the supplicant.

Juju has its equivalents in modern political endeavors. Where we understand the standard Juju of Voodoo is exhibited in the physical objects such as the hat worn by the Priest or Priestess or the chicken’s foot left behind as an indicator of the practical spell being practiced, politicians use Public Opinion Polls to supplicate their deity (voters).

In a blog dated March 24, 2014, Lou Gehrig Burnett of Fax-net published this observation:  “Regardless of how one feels about former Congressman and four-time Gov. Edwin Edwards, it must be admitted that there is still magic in that name.”

No doubt.

There was a public opinion poll taken. There was no statement as to what the survey was supposed to determine outside of the obvious need to develop a set of statistics. There was no description of the survey sampling describing the process of selecting the sample elements from any targeted population. A survey sampling most often involves a questionnaire used to measure the characteristics and/or attitudes of people. Different ways of contacting members of a sample once they have been selected is the subject of survey data collection. Sampling reduces the cost and/or the amount of work it takes to survey the entire target population. Any survey measuring an entire target population is called a census.

It’s in the contact of “members of a sample once they have been selected” where we find the telling phrase to be considered. Were the “members of the sample” all Democrats? Were they queried only and specifically on a basis of name recognition? Were other issues, issues of importance and capability to create shading in the queries, included in the pool of queries? What was the age bracket of the “members” chosen? What were the overall demographics used?

The results of this poll allegedly show (as published in LaPolitics by John Maginnis):

Edwin Edwards (D) – 43%. (Professional Politician and lawyer)
State Sen. Dan Claitor (R) – 20.3%. (Tax attorney)
Paul Dietzel II(R) – 19.22%. (Entrepreneur)

In the also running (as of the time the poll was published the following contestant candidates placed as follows in the poll.

Craig McCulloch (R) – 4.45%. (Small business owner.)
Garrett Graves (R) – 4.03%. (Bobby Jindal associate)
Cassie Felder (R) – 3.9%. (Tax attorney (the only woman)
Charles “Trey” Thomas(R) – 2.6%. (School teacher.)
Richard Dean Lieberman (D) – 2.5%. (Real estate broker.)

As was noted in a prior column published by this writer on March 24, 2014 and titled: SOME PEOPLE CAN’T BE REHABILITATED: “… the more candidates enter a race the lower the percentages of the vote other candidates may gain.” It further states: “the greater a candidate’s name value, recognition and marketability has a lot to do with how many votes can be taken as a spoiler.”

Political polling is the new Juju. It’s meant to develop statistics capable of pointing voters toward a specific end. Whether it’s about the dial turning toward the left or the right is irrelevant. The goal is to be the momentary shiny object distracts the voter from the issues. Polls are used to supplicate the voter/gods to turn their affections toward the target best served by the pollster. The pollster takes money for the work done just as a Voodoo Priest/Priestess accepts payment for the incantations and ceremonies they practice. There are pollsters with agenda as there are others claiming they have none. The integrity of the poll rests in the existence or non-existence of the pollster’s integrity.

The target audience (as opposed to the target sampling) is that group of people known as “Low information voters of “LIV”. They’re people who may vote but are generally poorly informed about the issues and the specifics of politics.

These people comprise the herd politicians seek to direct through using polls (Juju) whether on a state level or on the grander scale of national politics.

Thanks for listening.

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