Why even bother polling?

"Because of the nature of the unprecedented recall election, the poll does not project a winner or predict how people might vote."

As an aside to a blog entry on Schwarzenegger's recent policy and staffing blunders, Kos mentions a recent poll, with a bigger caveat than the normal "margin of error 3.5, bear that in mind, the guy 2 points ahead isn't statistically significantly in front" sort of thing.

The California recall election is such a freak election that, face it, nobody knows what the poll numbers mean.

So why bother? Well, the poll is a "Time/CNN" poll, so every time it gets mentioned, that's free publicity for Time and CNN. Which makes it reasonable for those two companies to sponsor a poll - and in turn makes it reasonable for, I don't know, Newsweek and MSNBC to put out their own, and it goes on and on for ages, and soon people are talking about meta-data like the poll results rather than candidates' actual policies. Feh.

I'm still happy I don't live in California.