Friday, February 23, 2018

Survey Says...!

What good is any survey? People who use them for evidence tend to point to them only when they confirm the point they were going to make themselves. In a world that includes Al Gore's Internet as a means to gather numbers and opinions, you can have your pick of evidence. Chocolate syrup is the most popular ice cream topping, for instance. Rome ranks number one in the race to determine the best place to visit on a vacation. The best record store is Hard Wax in Berlin. You don't have to look long to find the epitome of whatever category you might want to explore. The greatest chess game ever? Gerry Kasparov versus Deep Blue back in 1997. 

Of course, all of these are opinions, choices that fell outside the spectrum such as the nut who likes to put ground glass on their ice cream don't get a lot of play after they have been summarily dismissed. And it's probably not a good idea to ask a group of eight year olds where their favorite record store is. Records? What are those? 

But political scientists ought to be able to gather together and make a comprehensive list of the American presidents from best to worst. We should trust them, right? They're scientists. It just so happens that a group of political scientists did just that and released the "Official Results of the 2018 Presidents & Executive Politics Presidential Greatness Survey." Three hundred twenty surveys were issued and they received one hundred seventy "usable responses." This makes me wonder just exactly what the unusable. Returned via regular mail, scrawled in crayon, "Alfred E. Neuman." 

Those that were returned in a usable fashion were culled and calculated and your number one greatest president turns out to be Abraham Lincoln. No big surprise there, with the top five rounding out with George Washington, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson. Sure, I know there will be those who will want to argue the Teddy before Thomas ordination, but it's pretty hard to argue with that list.

Which brings us to the ground glass. At the bottom of the list we find the current occupant of the Oval Office. Below James Buchanan and William Henry Harrison. Even Richard Nixon sits at a very comfortable thirty-three. Barack Obama is number eight, up ten spots since the last time the survey was taken four years ago. If the current "President" were to make that kind of leap in four years, he would still rank just behind Nixon. 

Now it's time to take a survey to find out who believes in surveys. 

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