Posted by Kevin Matthews on October 29, 2000 at 15:58:40:
In Reply to: Anti-Nader petition posted by Sylvia Smith on October 28, 2000 at 20:59:20:
I don't know of any "Anti-Nader" petition, but if you're referring to the petition calling on Ralph Nader to honor his own pledges to the environmental community -- maybe it tells us the petition isn't linked from the party home page, but has started out running only on 'word of mouth'? Maybe it tells us mainstream politics, for better or worse, are less focused on the Internet than are the far right and the far left? Maybe it tells us it isn't being signed by hundreds of Republicans -- unlike the 'Anti-Gore' petition being promoted by the Green Party?
Honestly, it doesn't tell us any of that. You can certainly tell something from who _has_ signed a petition, but you can't really tell much from who hasn't. Unless you can guarantee who knows about it and has access.
If you were to promote two online petitions equally, from neutral web sites, then you'd have a kind of comparative poll-by-petition, and you could compare numbers between them with at least a bit of validity. Otherwise, if you can't account for differences in how the petitions are promoted, numerical comparisons are probably meaningless.
You _can_ tell pretty well that those who signed a petition support its position, which is exactly what petitions are about.
Is the petition below the one you're refering to? If so, what do you think it tells us?
PS: Personally, I'm not anti-Nader. I wish Ralph Nader well. I hope he will recover quickly from the heady political ego-rush that seems to have overtaken his better judgement in the last few weeks. If I did not live in a swing state, I would probably even vote for Nader, despite the political promises he has recently broken.
But most of all, I hope that by the time the Green Party has enough power and support to actually win a national election, there will still be some old-growth left to fight for. Many of the costs of four or eight years of another Bush administration will be permanent, unrecoverable.