Imagine that you had just started a new job. Then imagine that just two months into your new job you were evaluated by a large number of people – the overwhelming majority of whom were in no position to render judicious judgment. And then imagine that the results of this evaluation were made public, available for anyone and everyone to dissect as they saw fit. No fun.
I’m no great fan of New York City’s new mayor, Bill De Blasio. But give the guy a break! Not necessary a scant nine weeks into his mayoralty to have a big, bold headline reading “De Blasio Approval Rating at 39% in Poll… Lower than Bloomberg’s at Same Point” (Wall Street Journal, 3/7/14).
Such constant, in this case also wildly premature, assessment is demoralizing, not only for those being assessed, for leaders, but for those of us doing the assessing, for followers. Americans are so skeptical of those in positions of political authority that those in positions of political authority are being undermined. It’s become something of a vicious circle, to which incessant polling is contributing factor.
Next time you’re asked your opinion about someone who recently assumed political office, say you don’t know. Because you really don’t. Like any of us new to any task, it takes a while for others correctly to determine if we’re doing it well.