Those polls only used a few thousand people...
It's true that the forum population represents a relatively small chunk of the overall player base. It's also true that the kind of player that's apt to post on the forums doesn't necessarily represent all of the vast and incredibly diverse World of Warcraft community, but that doesn't mean that the feedback here isn't useful. We do realize that forum goers are often our most invested, passionate players. We appreciate you guys, and what you have to say matters.
That said, election polls and the forums are different in several key ways. Among them--and I don't want to get into how statistics works in detail (especially since I'm not an expert)--but I do know that the forums are what is called a 'self selecting sample', and that trying to derive representative statistics from such a sampling is an excellent way to get skewed results.
I like the new dailies, as long as I don't do more than one or two hubs a day my brain stays safely within the confines of sanity. That said, I think there's merit to what the OP and like-minded people say when they claim that Reputation grinds feel mandatory. However, I don't think they're mandatory for things like weapon enchants or bag patterns. Personally, I think they're mandatory simply because the PvE system does not work as intended unless you have at least a handful of Reputations at Honored / Revered. Of course, I'm talking about Justice and Valor gear being tied to reputation.
Why is this a problem? Well, mostly it stems from this tendency World of Warcraft has to "cross the streams" of gameplay. What I mean by this is that running dungeons for gear makes you more successful at daily questing, while doing dailies unlocks the ability to purchase gear that will make you more successful in raiding. That's not to say that progress in one area shouldn't help you out in another area; after all, that's part of the reason the new PvP Power and PvP Resilience system works so well; they function as a bridge from PvE into PvP, same with granting players baseline PvP Resilience.
Historically speaking, questing has been considered PvE Content, lumped in the same category as raiding, dungeons, and now scenarios. But the big difference between questing and the rest of its PvE ilk is that, obviously, you don't need to be in a group to quest. This is especially true that "group quests" have basically been abandoned in favor of Scenarios and "companion dailies" like the ones the Shado Pan grant. More and more, this idea of a "solo play progression system" keeps growing with the advent of things like the Brawler's Guild. This makes the ultimate question, "Why lock something that social players need behind solo content?" Ultimately, this is the reason I feel that people miss the tabard system; it was a way to earn Reputation doing what the player themselves wanted; by playing socially with others.
That said, I think a fair number of people did only enjoy the tabards for the "Two-Birds, One Stone" idea that Greg Street, Zarhym, and Bashiok have mentioned before. And ultimately, I agree with them. Rep Tabards is an antiquidated idea if Reputations are going to evolve into solo play content. It would be like unlocking the Terrace of Endless Spring raid for completing the Klaxxi questline; nonsensical. However, I also think that it is a serious problem that a cross-system rewards system (Valor and Justice) is locked behind solo play and isn't accessible through social play. Just like the new upgrade system won't be locked behind boss progression, the Valor and Justice gear shouldn't be locked behind reputation progression, and ultimately I think that freeing those items will end a lot of the quarreling that people are having over the Reputations themselves.
I'm sure its more than two cents, but its my opinion on the topic.