I saw a news segment on Groundhog Day over the weekend. These segments run every year because good old groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, seeing his shadow or not is argued by some to be the herald of Mother Nature’s intent of subjecting us to a longer — or blessing us with a shorter — winter.
Really? He’s a rodent. Why would anyone put any credence in whether or not a rodent sees his shadow?
OK, before you start sending emails about how it is a tongue-in-cheek, fun tradition; please let me explain why I am mentioning it.
After that segment, I watched the Sunday political talk shows and their seemingly never-ending discussion of the polls for the upcoming Iowa Caucuses and I realized there was a column to be written from the two news items.
Now, those of you who read this column regularly (and I thank you for that) know that my often times bizarre mind tends to find links between seemingly divergent subjects; so, here goes.
Did you know that Phil is only right a little more than one-third of the time, and yet he maintains his celebrity status?
And as of Sunday, some of the polls cited indicated that both political parties had front running candidates at just about that same percentage rate of prospective voters on their band wagon in Iowa.
Side note: Could anyone have imagined that heading into the Iowa Caucuses we would have a blustery, businessman/reality show host and a 74-year-old socialist not only being in contention, but, in many polls, favored to win?
With both Sanders and Trump drawing rock star crowds, being the celebs of their respective parties, I gotta wonder why they didn’t have higher numbers in the polls. And how can the polling results vary to such a degree from day to day?
It’s all in the polling criteria. How the question is asked, who is being asked, how many people participated and much more all factor into the results. Didn’t you wonder why every candidate cites different poll numbers? They find — or authorize — their own polls that put them in the best light; and we all know that you need light to see your shadow, right Phil?
So, Punxsutawney Phil saw no shadow, indicating to believers that there will be an early spring and the Iowa Caucuses are over with Trump placing second while Sanders ended up in a virtual tie for first place.
We might speak of Punxsutawney Phil with a wink and a smile, but the presidency of the United States is no joking matter. Phil might be good for entertainment but electing a president should be more than a good show.
While Phil will not be vying again for coverage on the nightly news until this time next year, both Sanders and Trump have already arrived in New Hampshire and the focus is now on how they are polling there.
But, do these percentages really mean anything? Phil still maintains his fan base even with being wrong most of the time and, no matter what percentage is reported in the polls, we still remain loyal to our candidate — right?