Ferguson: Polls (9-1-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (September 1, 1944)



Ferguson: Polls

By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

Elections used to be fun. That was before the polltakers got loose. Now, long before the campaigns start, the analysts tell us just how everything will turn out. We are kept informed to the fraction of a vote about major and minor trend. Week after week Mr. Gallup or Mr. Roper or Mr. Somebody Else, dishes up answers to all our queries.

In a world where the means of communications are so wonderful, there is a sense of letdown. We are satisfied with details until news of any sort seems less exciting than the manner of its transmission.

Looking back, I can’t feel too sorry for people who loved without railroads and radio. I remember hearing any father relate the story of a hot campaign when William McKinley was running against the perennial Democratic candidate of that day, William Jennings Bryan. To the remote little village where we lived came word of the Great Crusader’s victory.

Excitement such as had never been known in those parts swept over the community. A torchlight parade was held and the night was filled with flaming flares and whoopee. Father, the lone Republican within a hundred miles infested with Southern Democrats, took an awful razzing from his Free Silver friends – until about 11 o’clock a horseback rider came galloping in with news that McKinley was the new President.

Such stunning tidings are no longer possible for a populace that gets its news before it happens.

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