I was in the lobby of the 13th floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Building Monday afternoon chatting with a reporter who was surprised about the so-called polls already calling the city council election.
The reporter is surprised that the polls being conducted do not reflect the grassroots political movement of the various campaigns on the ground.
Because I’m always skeptical of polls that won’t reveal the demographics, except the number of people being polled. In fact, we seldom know what kinds of questions are being asked of residents, which leaves a lot of questions about the motivation of the polling.
The other issue is the fact that some of the people conducting these polls are hardly pounding the political pavement.
Most of their polling is done from their ivory tower offices or suites, which is no service to the average Detroiter if you cannot navigate the rough political paths in this city to interact and ask those voting questions about their political decisions.
The intended consequences of such polling is that it imposes on voters pre-selected choices of candidates that appear as the complete and honest choices of the average Detroiter when, in fact, it serves an opium-like effect- that allows voters to settle with the poll results instead of making their own choices.
In the interest of democracy, it is not democratic to impose on voters or tell them who to vote for. Just like the so-called manufactured polls around the country that were claiming that the majority in the country doesn’t want public option health care. It is a blatant lie meant to hijack real health care reform. The same is being done with some of the polls assessing the race for city council, charter revision commission and mayor.
If we are really interested in a free and fair local government reform in Detroit, it ought to be left with voters to choose their choices.
The business of us in the media and those in the polling trade serving as high priests and scribes over the elections is not necessary and certainly not within our purview.
Yes, the media serves as that space between the people and the government, and in this race we must pursue the course of providing platforms that allow the candidates to speak to the issues.
In doing so, voters are able to select the most competent, intelligent, passionate and compassionate candidates who understand that Detroit cannot do business the same way it did 20 years ago.