16th Century Pollsters?

I’m having a hard time parsing the intro to this Salon.com article:

Ever since 16th century pollsters and media consultants discovered Machiavelli, political handlers have been searching for the right strategic thinker to guide them in wooing voters. Sun Tzu on “The Art of War” has often been in vogue, especially among hawkish Republican operatives.

Wikipedia, the source of all that’s true on the Internet, tells me that professional pollsters didn’t exist until the nineteenth century, but maybe I’m being purposefully obtuse. The article in question is titled “The 2008 election, explained by Yogi Berra.” Perhaps this is some sort of homage.

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  • Baci

    Hi Carl: I’m working to promote a novel that comes out in July called The Bestiary by Nicholas Christopher (The Dial Press). I thought it might be of interest to you givne the topic of your blog–it’s the story of a young man’s journey around the world to find a lost medieval book about mythical animals. I was wondering how I might be able to send you a copy and more information. Thank you very much for your time.

  • LLCoolCarlIII

    Please send me a copy. I’ll happily not read it, then write an article mocking it. That’s how I roll. If you think withering contempt will help with the promotion, I’m your guy.

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