As the campaign moves forward toward the inevitable demands for a recount, I find I am learning things all the time. Things like the fact that I should keep my talents as a rapper to myself, and the importance of wearing pants “all the time.” Another thing I’m learning about is the art of the opinion poll.

I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of polling. It’s hard to believe that you can learn the opinions of a large group of people by asking a tiny percentage of that group some questions. When I first heard about this in high school, I decided to test this theory out myself.

I crafted a poll question for the women in my class. The question was “Do you want to date Daylin?” I selected one random female, Renee Tewilliger, and asked her this question. She answered “NO WAY” (I deemed the fact that she yelled her answer and made gagging sounds not germane to the poll). I then asked all 30 females in my class the same question (I chose to deem the fact that they all yelled and made gagging sounds, two passed out, and four continue to laugh to this day, as not germane to the poll). And much to my amazement, there was a 100% correlation between Renee Tewilliger’s answer and the opinion of the rest of the class.

I then decided to make the poll more sophisticated. I gave Renee Tewilliger a series of possible alternatives to dating me, with an eye towards seeing the correlation between her answer and the rest of the class’s opinion. Here are the results:

QUESTION: For each alternative below, tell me whether you would rather do the alternative or date Daylin.

I’d Rather … than date Daylin——–Renee’s Answer——Class Answer %

1. Date a dead person———————–Yes——————————–100%

2. Bathe in skunk Juice——————–Oh God yes, a no brainer——–100%

3. Run, full speed, into a door knob—-Just point me and yell “go.”——-100%

4. Eat only egg salad forever——————Yummy————————–100%

5. Loofa Shaquille O’Neil————————Definitely————————93%

As you can see, there is a high correlation, but not a perfect correlation between Renee’s answers and the class’s attitudes. It turns out one girl preferred dating me to loofaing Shaquille O’Neil. And this girl could not be accounted for by simply polling Renee Tewilliger. Thus polls are imperfect. (It turns out that the one girl, Molly Haberstumpf, would not actually rather date me than loofa Shaquille O’Neil. She just misunderstood the term “loofa” and was momentarily intimidated. Thus the poll actually was perfect. But the point remains, polls are imperfect.)

But as imperfect as they are, polls are still useful. They give you a general sense of what the voters are feeling. They tell you when to emphasize education and when to emphasize the excellent vacation package you plan to vote yourself. It tells you when your speech on health care is getting through to the voters, and when your Marilyn Manson impersonation is not. So we’re off to do another poll. We’d decided to find out if the voters would rather vote for me, or loofa Shaquille O’Neil.