A Note on Polling

In particular, single-question polls embedded in newspaper articles of the sort opinary.com does.  One example is embedded in a Deutsche Welle article on the key players in the Venezuelan people’s struggle with their government.

The poll question asks Do you think Juan Guaido was right to declare himself president?

Unfortunately, there are only two answers offered:

  • No, he has no legitimacy. This is a coup.
  • Yes, Maduro is a dictator. Guaido will save Venezuela.

Leaving aside the question of whether Guaido might save anything, the question and its allowed answers assume that coups must have no legitimacy, ever.  The pollsters should consult the series of English civils wars against tyranny, our Declaration of Independence, and the French Revolution (even if the latter became corrupted and turned out badly).  Sometimes

when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them [mankind] under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

This is surely the case in Venezuela.

Such polls are amusing, but they can’t be serious.

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