This essay develops a technocultural studies approach to political elections and polling. First, I shift our attention from polling as a cultural form to developments in polling technology that are transfiguring this form. I then examine the production and circulation of political opinion during the 2004 and 2006 Canadian elections in order to expose the limits of the media's criticism of polling and to contend that published preelection polls contribute to the formation of suspicious subjects. I go on to argue that political campaign communication is open to information accidents so that politicians get elected not just because of what they say, or how they say it, but when they say it. Within the accelerated serial mix of public opinion, stories, commentary, and events, political support and momentum were articulated with the politicization of affect to shape the outcome. While preelection polls may not produce knowledge of public opinion, they are a political technology and a vector of power.
Media Poll-Itics in Canadian Elections: A Report on Accelerated Public Opinion
BOB HANKE TEACHES IN THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY AND THE GRADUATE PROGRAMME IN COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE AT YORK UNIVERSITY, TORONTO. HIS RECENT PUBLICATIONS INCLUDE “MCLUHAN, VIRILIO AND SPEED IN THE AGE OF DIGITAL REPRODUCTION” IN MARSHALL MCLUHAN: CRITICAL EVALUATIONS IN CULTURAL THEORY (2005) AND “FOR A POLITICAL ECONOMY OF INDYMEDIA PRACTICE” IN THE CANADIAN JOURNAL OF COMMUNICATION (2005).