Eight days to the U.S. election and there is no doubt that the race for president between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is tight. Neither candidate is a shoe-in. That’s what the polls show us. No doubt it will remain that way to election day. That said, there has been considerable shifting in the polls back and forth that seems to relate directly to the collective unconscious. Things happen and the mood shifts. But are millions of people actu
ally changing their votes back and forth between candidates as events unfold? I don’t think so, and I’ll explain why. But first let’s look at events that have caused a shift in polling in the past few weeks.
There was the convention bump that worked in Oba
ma’s favor resulting in a period of a couple of weeks where he was leading in ‘swing states’ – the ones that will determine the outcome because they could go either way – by as much as 8-10 points after being neck and neck in the polls. Republicans were scrambling, in near panic-mode. Some quietly even conceded it was over when their problems were compounded by outrageous statements about rape by members of their party on the far right whose beliefs are automatically tied to the top of the ticket.
Then the first debate changed everything as Obama appeared listless, uninterested, even unwilling to take on Romney. Did he really want a second term? Within days, the polls shifted in Romney favor. Republicans who had doubted the veracity of the polls when their candidate was sinking into the sunset now touted the new results of the same polling organizations.
In a sense, the Republicans who were disputing the earlier polls were right when they said they didn’t see voters changing their minds. Likewise, Democrats now could make the same argument. When the same people are polled before and after these influential, poll-changing events occur, my guess is that there is typically little or no shift between candidates. There are not enough undecided voters to sway the polls, and when undecided voters make a decision, they’re as likely as the next voter to stick with it.
Yet, interviews derived from random dialing of telephone numbers reveal some remarkable shifts as mentioned above. The random process of course results in different people being interviewed each time., and they probably haven’t changed their minds about the candidates. Yet, the shift of points are fairly consistent among the various polling organizations.
In essence, polling is a form of divination – like attracts like. Something has changed in the collective unconscious and the polling process picks up on it. In that sense, polling is not really much different from the astrology, Tarot cards, numerology, or the I Ching. Rather than providing a reading for the near future for an individual, the ‘poll readings’ provide it for the entire country.
No doubt the scientific-minded polling experts would be puzzled by such a perspective on what they do. But I think there’s something to it, that polling shifts are more about the state of the collective unconscious rather than individuals changing votes.
Maybe in the future as intuitive technology expands in the realm of science – if it ever does – we’ll reach a point where it won’t be necessary to stand to line to vote. It will be recognized and accepted that real democracy happens at the level of the collective unconscious.
Meanwhile, polling and voting will merge a week from tomorrow in the U.S. when we ‘go to the polls,’ as they say, finding out way to the ‘the polling booths.’