I don’t like to pick on pollsters. It is a kind of cottage industry during election years, but I believe that Gallup has stepped way over the line with its polling on “What country anywhere in the world do you consider to be the United States' greatest enemy today?” Election polling at least concerns a defined choice that American have to make—namely who to vote for. Even polling on policies reflects a discussion that is occurring in the country. But this poll imposes a framework of allies vs. enemies on Americans’ thinking that does not reflect the kind of discussions that are occurring in Nashville or Framingham; and it’s a kind of thinking that very much belongs to an earlier era of American international relations. You can look at the choices that Gallup provides: Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and China. And the headline is that Iran is no longer “No. 1 U.S. Enemy.” That’s reassuring, I guess, but did Iran ever threaten to go to war against the United States? Or did China, which is now leading the pack of “enemies”? I would junk this poll if I were Gallup.
February 21, 2014
Pernicious Polling by Gallup