This brief squib, which needs to be followed up, began as a response to a discussion on a social media site I am better off not looking at. The question was (more or less) disputed elections, and I opined that "Pollsters always lie, as we know, but apart from that, polling should be a major felony because it is based on the degrading fallacy that it is important to know what people want and that political--therefore social and moral--questions can be treated as a popularity contest."
This was answered politely by someone who accepted the notion that polls are often not always inaccurate, and he explained--quite truly--that they can indicate how warped the voting public has been by media disinformation. I responded by saying:
On pollsters, I did not say pollsters were inaccurate but that they lied. I don't think the statement needs justification. Pollsters mostly work for clients, who can be candidates, parties, politically oriented movements and institutions. It is never pretended that the work is pure research. Americans sense the dishonesty, when they are approached by pollsters, which explains the so-called David Duke effect.
A good friend of mine is a survey sociologist, who has done little political polling but a lot of survey work on a variety of subjects including political attitudes. As he likes to say, polls and surveys will tell you what people say when suspicious questions start asking them leading questions. That, however, was not my point in calling for the criminalization of polling. My point was to state the obvious, that polling by its nature corrupts the commonwealth by reinforcing the delusion that we the ignorance of a real or fictive majority should answer questions like: What is the sum of two plus two? Why can't a man marry his brother or his dog? When is rioting and looting not a crime?