Punxsutawney Phil in 2008. (Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)
In the heat of last year's gubernatorial race, we developed a real fondness for a good polling post. And, frankly, we've missed those looks at polling figures.
But thanks to our friends at Public Policy Polling in Raleigh, N.C., we have a chance to write about a poll that's both timely and significant.
It's about Punxsutawney Phil.
In less than 24 hours from now, members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club will haul Phil out of his stump, so the planet's most famous Marmota monax can tell us what's up with the remaining six weeks of winter.
The part that involves polls? We love the little guy, even if we don't trust his weather forecasting abilities. PPP spoke to just over 1,000 voters in Pennsylvania, presumably to ask questions that have nothing at all to do with voting. The results, as they pertain to Groundhog Day?
Fifty-nine percent of us have a favorable opinion of Phil, while 12 percent of us – professional meteorologists bitter about the attention paid to a rodent, we assume – have a negative opinion. But relax, weather-forecasting people – just 8 percent of those surveyed said the whole seeing-his-shadow thing is a reliable predictor of the weather.
Who should be concerned? Here's where we justify an Early Returns blog post about Punxsutawney Phil – a full 50 percent of those polled said they thought Phil would do a better job than most current members of Congress.
Ouch. Mitt Romney avoided inserting himself in a political version of Groundhog Day last week; maybe it's time to see how a real rodent would fare on the ballot?