joeldurston

‘Pollio’ outbreak across the US

In Satire on November 13, 2012 at 9:27 AM

A week after the US election, a new virus is spreading across the United States of America.

‘Pollio’, as scientists are calling it, is a condition where people have an obsessive capacity to canvas other’s opinions, and is now evident to some degree in nearly all American states.

Scientists believe the condition can largely be attributed to withdrawal systems experienced by those who got hooked by the relentless statistical analysis of the US election.

This was a huge part in the election for both parties, news channels and the seemingly omniscient, almighty Nate Silver; but particularly the Democrats who this year made 125 million phone calls to voters and did 700,000 canvassing shifts.

Tom Adamson, scientist from The Institute of Science and Stuff, said: “such a rapid change from there being an election, and one which would ‘change the fate of the world’,  to there not being one has been very traumatic for some people.

“Particularly, we have found, for a certain type of man, usually in his forties, who wears glasses and tweed jumpers, has an alphabeticised record collection and keeps an Excel spreadsheet of his monthly outgoings.”

He went on to explain that pollio is affecting pollsters and strategy geeks of all classes and political persuasions.

“Some of the more gregarious pollsters can be seen on any market square, clipboard in hand, waiting to prey on the next unsuspecting poll-ee – but a lot just congregate on 4chan,” he said.

“Pollsters from both parties try to draw the people in with nice light questions about sport or the X Factor, but then bring on the politics.

“Democrats typically ask very right-on questions about redistributive taxation and social rights. And Republicans typically ask very leading questions such as ‘do you want your taxes paying for an unemployed person’s house?’ ‘is Obama a dirty Muslim?’ or ‘is this country to become even more of a European socialist hell-hole under Obama now?’

“Some are so obsessed about canvassing they just ask about what cereal people had in the morning, and one apparently got really self-reverential and asked if people like him were polling people too much.”

Most then use this data for their blogs, which they endlessly tweet about, and some even send them to the high lord of stats, Nate Silver, in the hope of approval or even a job.

Also, this week British policy group, Think-tank Thinking About Think-tanks, published a report entitled Demographics and Political Strategy and That Kind of Stuff, which explored this growing political trend.

Lead researcher, Nida Propajob, said: “this trend, which we are calling the statistisation of society, has its origin in myriad causes, but chief among them is popular television.

“Stats used to be the preserve of the kind of people who consider The Economist toilet reading, but with the advent of X-Factor voting and colourful graphics and stat-boxes on sports broadcasting, everyone thinks they’re the next Jon Snow.

A colleague at the think-tank, Simon Cooper, offered a more scathing view of the findings. He said: “Well, this all clearly shows democracy has eaten itself. Twitter and Facebook make everyone feel they’re groundbreaking thinkers and prophetic soothsayers, but really, they’re just idiots. I’m going to live in China.”

“John Motson’s got a lot to answer for!’”

Joel Durston

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