We have no Warsaw, Krakow or Gdansk, yet nowhere are there more polls than in America.
We love polls more than strippers love poles. There is no question we can't answer with a poll: Which is the best college football team? Who shall the, Quisp or Cap'n Crunch? What shall my foreign policy be?
Recently ABC News conducted a scientific, very expensive, margin-of-error-of-plus-or-minus-3% poll that asked, on the 25th anniversary of Elvis's death, Who is the greatest rock and roll performer of all time? And 38% of the people said, " Elvis. Yes, I believe he is." Next week on ABC News: Is there anybody nicer, ever, than your mom?
The new rage in sports is instant polling during an event. For baseball, Fox has Virtual Manager, which is like any other manager except it doesn't spit tobacco juice constantly, bring its three-year-old to the game or even consider managing the New York Mets.
During the World Series the Virtual Manager asked questions such as, Should the Angels bunt in this situation? And, Should the Giants use a reliever now? Within two minutes the Virtual Manager reappeared with its answer after thousands of viewers went to Foxsports.com and clicked in their well-informed baseball opinions, divined from years of eating Cheetos off their chests in front of the TV. Bunt. Yes, the Angels should definitely bunt here.
Apparently there are hundreds of thousands of Americans who lie on their couches, one hand on a computer mouse and the other on the Cheetos, ready to click in the moment they're needed. You see instant polling in football (Should the Giants go for it on fourth down?) and on reality shows (Is Denise a bitch?) and on those catty Oscar warmup shows (Did Winona Ryder pay for that dress?).
But it's all about as pointless as Meat Loaf's calorie counter. What does it matter whether, as AOL asked recently, we think the Federal Reserve will leave interest rates where they are? Do you think that Alan Greenspan stops in the middle of addressing a boardroom full of the nation's top economists and suddenly says, "Hold on a minute, ladies and gentlemen. I want to see whether Elmer Schnood, a Roto-Rooter man in greater Tacoma, thinks interest rates should stay where they are."
You know we'll see instant polls during coverage of the next war. While a network is showing a satellite transmission of Iraqi troop movement, the Virtual General will pop up and ask, Should Gen. Tommy Franks use a drone in this situation?
This pollio is contagious. You see it on SportsCenter a lot. In the first 20 minutes you'll hear Stuart Scott say, "O.K., I want 50,000 votes on this one. Log in right now and vote!" He'll want your opinion on some earth-shattering issue such as, Will Brian Griese's knee be ready in time to save the Broncos?
Later in the show Scott will go back to the question as if it's a real news story. "Dan, the people have spoken," Scott will say, "and out of 63,784 voters, a resounding 63 percent think, yes, Brian Griese's knee will be ready!"