By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Some people like to turn up their noses at polls, that staple of political coverage, as if they’re somehow tacky or beside the point.

But not me.

I like polls, even when they don’t mean very much, like polls in the presidential race three years out when the campaign hasn’t begun yet. They represent the actual opinions of real people, sometimes up to a thousand of them or more, and thus convey much more useful information than anything on the op-ed page.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

And I especially like polls that ask people what issues they actually care about, as opposed to the issues they’re spoon-fed by the media.

For instance, there’s a brand-new Gallup poll of more than 1,000 adults that shows most people don’t care very much about crime, Miley Cyrus, Monica Lewinsky, or who did or didn’t win a Grammy.

Asked what they think is the most important problem facing us today, 23-percent cited unemployment and jobs, 20-percent said the economy in general, and 15-percent mentioned the cost of health care.

Another 19-percent cited inept politicians, but most of that is probably frustration over the previous three.

Nothing else reached double digits.

Which tells me that people are preoccupied with their own financial security, from which a multitude of good or bad things can flow.

Call that selfish and materialistic if you like, but I think it’s actually a statement – that if we can carve out of this imperfect world a decent living, and hope to make it last, then we can begin to dream the American dream.

Or, at least, grab a decent night’s sleep.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.



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