I know what you're thinking: Who's Ron Paul?
Well, he's not exactly a nobody, certainly not a Google nobody (neither am I), and he is running for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, albeit with less of a chance of winning than Ronald Reagan.
However, based upon reaction to last week's Republican debate sponsored by MSNBC, you might have thought Ron Paul was the second coming of Abe Lincoln.
(Update: Ron Paul supporters help make my point.)
Not exactly, as this ABC News story spells out.
That was the unmistakable conclusion of the online poll posted by debate sponsor MSNBC, which registered Paul with higher positive ratings and lower negative numbers than any of the other nine candidates on the stage.
ABC's post-debate Internet survey showed an even clearer victory for Paul, with the congressman taking more than 9,400 of 11,000 votes as of 12:30 p.m. Monday. (Rudy Giuliani is the next ranked candidate, with barely 150 votes.)
The lesson here is a simple one that cannot be repeated often enough: Online polls suck. And by that I mean they all suck, even the ones you may encounter on this Web site. Doesn't mean that they can't be amusing or that you should ignore them entirely, just that they are useless in terms of gauging actual - never mind precise - public sentiment on any issue whatsoever.
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