You know what you call data like these?


The disparity in these numbers and their trends are so broad that even the cautionary method of adding them all together and averaging them out — best done by the Real Clear Politics “poll of polls” — makes little sense.

After an election season lasting 14 months, which saw Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich serially seduced into fantasizing they might win a GOP nomination they never ever would have, we go into the final month with no reason to trust that these surveys are capturing anything other than a close race.

Pollsters themselves, when challenged on their stats, say they’re just presenting a snapshot of public opinion. Fine, but these snapshots are wildly distorted.

The key hidden fact is that fewer than one in 10 respond to those who try to poll them.