I was looking here, and as usual had serious qualms not only about the validity (are we measuring what we intend to measure?) but the interpretations.

Most serious, however, are the validity concerns. I will be absolutely frank and say that if I were asked, "3. Generally speaking, in your opinion is the United States headed pretty much in the right direction these days or is it headed off on the wrong track?, I would say right track, without equivocation. In reality, in my heart of hearts, I have serious misgivings about the idiocies and vacant wank fodder swirling through the countrysides -- or universities, pseudoprofessional classes, and city-sides, to be more accurate. There's no rule that the Supreme Court must be "balanced" and that Sandra Day O'Connor should be replaced by a swing voter (not to be confused with swing dancers). There's no incontrovertible imperative that US tax dollars have to be handed over to a bunch of terrorists just because they won an election, and the fact that the guys before were pretty much terrorists too doesn't make it binding precedent for the next gang of sociopaths. "Pretty much" may be a nod and a wink from "really", but it's still a far cry from "hysterical commitment to violent annihilation of a neighboring country". People who believe in God are not lunatics, not even if they have faith in a loving God in the face of hatemongering nutbar humankind -- or even merely crippling incompetence, obliviousness, and profoundly self-centered insincerity -- all around us.

But I digress. Let's imagine for a moment that I answer the poll honestly, and 50 percent of the respondents agree exactly with my take on the subject, and also answer honestly. We have serious concerns about the shrieking asshattitude that's seemingly taken Very Seriously in Serious Institutions such as Papers of Record, Halls of Decision-Making, and Ivied Towers of Higher Learning, for instance, although the examples above are a trivial listing.

That response will be interpreted as a resounding rejection of everything Bush is doing, has done, or ever will do. Doubt me? Read the commentary at the link. It's all about what's negative versus favorable for Bush, despite the fact that only one question mentions the man, complete with "scare quotes" for anything that can be mocked for having a possibly slightly positive connotation. They congratulate themselves on bending over backward not to be partisan by saying
Our "wrong track" direction of the country numbers are much more favorable to the Bush administration viewpoint than those of other polling firms.
By "favorable" they mean fewer respondents claim the country's on the wrong track. Polls from the other side of course do the same thing.

So, politically astute respondents will not respond honestly to that question, or most others. They will, if things are going really well all around them and as far as they can see or imagine in the great wide world, say "wrong track" if they hate Chimpretzler McHitlerburton, and vice versa as I have indicated above.

Methodologically speaking, in a self-aware world, any potential for validity in broadly generalized impression questions is terminally gutted where interpretation demonstrates bias in data use.

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