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With the caveat that I am generally skeptical of polls and polling in general, I tell this tale of seeing what you want to see when it comes to political news, or really anything in general once your mind is made up and you’re fully invested.

So my Republican pal tells me that he got a new app on his iPhone from that gives him up to the minute tracking numbers on the Presidential race. Having a crappy phone that can barely text message, I was impressed. I don’t think I need to see a tracking poll whenever the mood strikes me, but maybe I’m the one missing out.

Anyway, he then tells me that “I’m telling you, McCain’s making a comeback.” Which I expect him to say, and could possibly be true. I was more interested in watching the World Series, and told him , “Well, everybody expects the race to tighten, you know, that’s how these things are.” In other words, the kind of bland general-speak that will telegraph my disinterest from spending the next six hours trying to challenge him. So we we just moved on to why Philadelphia cannot get a hit with a runner in scoring position.

The next day, looking at a couple of news sites, I wondered about the site my friend was using and where he got such hopeful information. After all, while McCain makes gains here or there, he also has losses here or there. In other words, of course the poll numbers change, but there’s nothing out there at this point to indicate that things have fundamentally changed in this race: Obama appears to be leading nationally and appears to have a more flexible path to winning in the Electoral College, giving him a much better chance at the Presidency.

Curious, I then decided to check out myself to see what they were saying and see what, exactly was giving my buddy hope.

After looking at their information, their analysis, and their numbers…uh, I gotta say, I still don’t know. It looked like McCain had made some inroads in a few polls, but took a few losses in others, and the picture Pollster presents is basically Obama appears to be leading nationally and appears to have a more flexible path to winning in the Electoral College, giving him a much better chance at the Presidency.

Don’t call it a comeback, because it’s not quite.

But my friend sees comeback. Maybe he’s enthused with the bold Pennslyvania strategywhich has Obama’s lead down to ten points.

I admit, I just don’t get what he’s seeing. He’s the kind of guy who who go down with the ship, I guess. And maybe I’m kind of jealous of that being able to believe in what your team is doing no matter what the odds, the polls, or basic mathematics says. To always see the positive in the most negative of situations. To be able to spin reality into something else entirely that makes you feel better about the choices you make and the organizations that define you.

Nah, I enjoy being a cynical loner skeptic. Which is why if he’s vindicated on Election Day, well, I’ll be able to tell him, “You always kept the faith, man.” It’s the inherent beauty in thinking that way: for the twenty times you’re wrong, I guess the one time you’re right is always much, much sweeter and a sign that that those other nineteen times sucked, but keeping the faith was so worth it, and therefore it must be true.

How can you argue that?


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