[lit-ideas] Re: interaction of polls and public opinion

  • From: JimKandJulieB@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2006 12:15:47 EST

Sorry.  The recruiters sell to barely nearly adults the notion that if  they 
sign up, do a few push ups, march some steps, learn obstacle courses, and  how 
to lock load and fire a gun, they'll get to go to College and receive a good  
education, hold down a good job to provide for the family, etc.
*This* generation of soldiers (pre-9/11) didn't expect a war which would  
call them to all-out self-sacrifice.
That one crept up on them.
I'm merely (okay, possibly partially) saying that the ads on TV, etc,  
glamorize war to make more cannon fodder.   Many of these kids are  coaxed into 
something w/out a comprehension of the potential real consequences  .  Sure, 
do high math, they play sophisticated war games on  play-stations or whatever.
But they are not served well, nor are we, for trying every ad-campaign  
(including the personal touch; in the parking lot of a grocer -- an army type  
approached me while I was pushing a cart of groceries, had my infant in a sling 
hold, and held my 2 year old on my hip and asked if I was interested in 
joining.  possible to entice people at the very beginning of their lives to  
And no, I wasn't a child bearing children.  I was plenty old  enough the kid 
should have known ...
Julie Krueger    

========Original  Message========     Subj: [lit-ideas] Re: interaction of 
polls and public opinion  Date: 11/11/2006 10:53:06 A.M. Central Standard Time  
From: _lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxx (mailto:lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx)   To: 
_lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx (mailto:lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)   Sent on:    

Julie wrote:  “I suspect a good deal  of that has nothing to do with 
ideology, but that there were a lot of teenage  boys who signed up having no 
clue they 
would have to go overseas and actually be  shot or blown up, and a lot of 
young women who don't want their now young men to  go overseas and be shot or 
I have been off in the  irrelevant world of Nathaniel Hawthorne rather than 
following these discussions,  but the above statement jumped out at me as I was 
deleting messages.  I’m  ashamed to engage in a tangent having railed against 
them for so long,  nevertheless it occurs to me that here is an ideal place 
for the new congress to  have an investigation.  It should investigate our 
schools and their  teachers.  Surely it is a scandal to graduate high school 
students who can  join an organization that fights our wars and as Julie says 
have a clue”  that they shall be expected to help should our nation go to 
Note also, you  democratic investigators, the Republican lie that our 
soldiers are smarter than  ever.  This was being advanced to oppose John 
recent comment to the  contrary.  Since John Kerry was obviously right, this 
heinous Republican  bit of misinformation should surely be investigated.  
Surely if 
“a lot of  teenage boys” haven’t a clue that in joining the Army they 
be expected to  fight, these clueless boys have subnormal intelligence and 
must be lowering the  average IQ of our military.  Shoot, when I joined the 
Marines at age 17 we  all knew we might be expected to fight, and back in those 
days all you needed  was an IQ of 80 to get in. 
Lawrence, returning to the  intelligent even if irrelevant world of Hawthorne 

From:  lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx  
[mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of JimKandJulieB@xxxxxxx
Sent: Saturday, November 11, 2006 2:37  AM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: interaction of  polls and public opinion
Sorry to be dense, but  I never did well in math.  Does this mean that you're 
saying that what is  traditionally taught about probabilities and stats isn't 
relevant to  politics?  (Btw, here in Missouri there was the largest turn-out 
of  "young voters" (I'm thinking that must refer to something like 18 -21 or 
so; not  sure of the #'s) in 40 years.

I suspect a good deal  of that has nothing to do with ideology, but that 
there were a lot of teenage  boys who signed up having no clue they would have 
go overseas and actually be  shot or blown up, and a lot of young women who 
don't want their now young men to  go overseas and be shot or bombed.  

How do you create a  graph which cross-references voting by age, ethnicity,  
efficiency of  voting machines, weather, straight ballot or not, wording 
andplacement of  issues, location, etc?  Maybe, John, what you're saying is 
are simply  too many variables....

On the other hand -- I  always think of the pendulum swing (and I have no 
idea how this would relate to  what have said, John, but I'd love to know); a 
theory of sorts, even though only  anecdotal in large measurements, though 
doubtlessly studies out there I've  never looked up or run across, that each 
generation rebels against the  generation before it.  (There's a dangling 
participle there  somewhere.)   Do you remember (or ever see?) a TV sitcom 
"All  in the Family"?  Michael J. Fox played a high school or young college guy 
 whose parents were the prototypical flower children complete w/ being jailed 
for  protesting, etc.  Fox was the ultimate Commercialist prodigy -- 
following  Wall  St., valuing money above all...rabid Conversatism  (how's that 
irony?).  Parents were visceral dem's.   I  believe (stand me corrected if I'm 
wrong, someone), that this show aired  during the Reagan administration.   One 
would suppose that the baby  boomers' generation's children may perhaps be 
proud hard-line  conservatives. 

Maybe I should start  feeding my girls Rep propaganda...

Julie  Krueger
========Original  Message========
[lit-ideas]  Re: interaction of polls and public opinion   
10/24/2006 9:07:50 P.M.  Central Standard Time   
_john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxxx (mailto:john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx)    
_lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx (mailto:lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)    
Sent on:      

On 10/25/06,  Eric Yost <eyost1132@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> If  people watch televised poll results that indicate 30
> percent of the  public believes X, will that cause an upward
> shift in the percentage who  believe X? Is there a critical
> polling mass (50 percent? 60 percent?)  when a polled opinion
> about X multiplies itself? And how does the  frequency of
> publicizing polls alter future polled  opinion?
> I bet John  McCreery knows something about this.

There may  be such research. If so, I'm unfamiliar with it. A couple of
things I have  read recently do suggest, however, that the "critical
mass" metaphor may not  be appropriate in discussing social phenomena.

One critical flaw in the  metaphor may be the assumption that there is
only one tipping point, as there  is when a nuclear exposion occurs.
Anthropologist/marketing guru Grant  McCracken suggests in his new book
_Flocks and Flows_ that cultural phenomena  must typically survive five
to six tipping points en route from the chaos of  innovation to
becoming conventional wisdom. At each of those tipping points  the meme
in question must break through and appeal to a wider audience than  the
narrower group to which it first appealed.

A similar point is made  in one of the books on network analysis that I
am currently reading as  background for my current research project (if
anyone is interested I will  try to locate the particular book in
question; at the moment it isn't to  hand). The topic is the
application of network analysis to explanation of  crowd behavior. The
specific question is why some bar fights fizzle out while  others
result in full-scale riots. Here, again, a critical issue appears  to
be the way in which the crowd is structured.

Assume, for the sake  of argument, that people can be ranked in order
of propensity to become  involved in a bar fight, so that 1s tend to
start fights, 2s tend to join in  immediately, 3s stay out until a
certain proportion of the crowd is already  fighting, 4s stay out
longer, etc. A single 1 can start a riot if there are  enough 2s who
will leap in to create a fight big enough for the 3s and then  the 4s
to get involved as well. But in a crowd in which there aren't  enough
2s the fight fizzles out.

The thrust of both of these analyses  is that there isn't a single
"critical mass" threshold. There is, instead, a  range of thresholds,
each a function of the structure of the population in  question and
(the other side of that coin) the propensities of the  individuals who
comprise it.



John McCreery
The Word Works,  Ltd., Yokohama,  JAPAN

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