“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
Of course, that bit of advice from Hall of Fame baseball player Yogi Berra, the master of the mangled quote, can’t really be followed. A choice has to be made, whether it is which road to follow or which political stand to take.
Well, apparently not always. Many Washington state voters polled recently on where they stand on two gun initiatives — one supporting background checks and the other restricting them — on the fall ballot have the same perspective as Yogi.
The results from the Stuart Elway Poll found that 72 percent of people surveyed favored Initiative 594, which would require background checks on all firearm sales, while 55 percent of the same folks who were polled supported Initiative 591, which would prevent adopting background-check laws stricter than the national standard.
A variety of reasons are being tossed around as to why voters seem to disagree with themselves. Nobody will know for certain, which is why polls — regardless of how reliable they are said to be — are not always correct.
The way the questions are framed influences the outcome of polls. And the specific voters contacted might not represent the views of registered voters who will actually vote
More and more people using only cellphones (with unlisted numbers) is probably having an effect on the accuracy of polls, which generally rely on landline phones.
Another factor is old-fashioned human nature. While it is not realistic to enact initiatives that conflict, that isn’t a barrier to supporting both measures. Many people do want it both ways, and they took that opportunity to do just that.
Voters often view measures that restrict actions or impose standards as being necessary because it is other people who create problems. And since they don’t think they are the target of the initiatives, which might or might not be true, they figure restrictions and standards won’t apply to them.
They have to apply to someone.
Groups for and against the two initiatives will likely use these strange poll results to craft their messages to sway voters to their way.
Yet, on Election Day, voters could still choose to take the fork in the road.
If so, the state Supreme Court will be called in to sort it out.