The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy


Polls, Self-fulfilling Prophecies, and You

Filed under: Yamin Israel PartyCURRENT ISSUES — eidelberg @ 8:26 pm Edit This

1. 950,000 citizens of Israel did not vote in the January 2003 election. That number will probably be exceeded in next week’s March 28 election. This fact—plus the unprecedented public confusion or indecision about which party to vote for—places in question any opinion poll.

2. Bearing this in mind, if some guy by the name of ‘Nurp’ tells you, “Don’t waste your vote on a small party,” that guy has succumbed to the arrogance of ignorance as well as to a self-fulfilling prophecy—assuming he is not trying to deceive you.

3. What makes Nurp so sure that you will waste your vote on a small party? Is his assertion based on scientific knowledge or on an opinion poll?

4. But you know very well that opinion polls do not constitute scientific knowledge. They are usually based on a sample of only 500 respondents. Even if you assume that the organization or newspaper taking the poll is not manipulating its results—and that’s an assumption—the poll usually has an error of plus or minus 4%. Yes, but that could make the difference between passing or not passing the electoral threshold—today 2%.

5. Actually, Nurp’s telling you not to vote for a small party—say party X—is nothing but mischievous arrogance devoid of real knowledge. What doesn’t Nurp know?

a. First of all, he doesn’t know the number of people who are going to vote.

b. By not knowing that number, Nurp doesn’t know the number of votes party X will need to pass the electoral threshold.

(1) Thus, if 3,500,000 people vote, X will need 70,000 to get into the Knesset.

(2) But if only 3,000,000 vote, X will need 60,000 to get into the Knesset—and tomorrow may witness a record in the percentage of “non-voters.”

c. Nurp also doesn’t know the political leanings of the “non-voters.” It may well be that the non-voters belong almost exclusively to parties other than X. In other words, it’s quite possible that party X has the most ideologically motivated supporters, in which case virtually all of them will turn out and vote for X.

6. We see, therefore, that Nurp doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he arrogantly prompts people not to vote for X. But this is not all.

7. Unfortunately, some people may be foolish enough to fall for Nurp’s nonsense—which he is apt to dignify in the name of “pragmatism.” He may say something like this: “Yeah, party X has superior program, just what Israel needs if it’s to survive as a Jewish state. But you have to be ‘pragmatic’ because X has no chance of breaking the threshold.” That’s Nurp’s sophisticated message to naïve voters.

8. So instead of voting for X they vote for Y, a large party, or Z, middle-sized party. As a consequence, poor X, despite its superior program, falls short of the threshold and is relegated to the political wilderness. This is Nurp’s self-fulfilling prophecy. DON’T FALL FOR IT!!!

9. Remember what happened in 2003, when an awful lot of naïve people succumbed to Nurp’s “pragmatism” by voting Likud or National Union or the National Religious Party or United Torah Judaism. What did they contribute to? They voted for four parties responsible for the crime of Gush Katif. These four parties—to which add the Labor Party—enabled Prime Minister Sharon to impose his Disengagement Plan on the Knesset, a plan that dispossessed and deported 10,000 Jews.

10. If you voted for Likud or NU or NRP or UTJ because they campaigned against Disengagement, you surely feel betrayed. And if you voted for them because of Nurp’s “pragmatism,” you may even feel a bit guilty. Do you feel comfortable voting for these parties again?

If not, vote for party X—Baruch Marzel’s Jewish National Alliance (Hazit — כ), which already has 62,000 people who have signed forms saying they will vote for this outstanding party!

Hazit will not betray you. It will stand firmly for your Jewish national principles. A handful of Hazit MKs will accomplish more than a busload of wimps from party Y and party Z.