I've put in a request that the polls be labeled such; I agree.
This is a pretty conservative site (to put it mildly) when it comes to design, down to what might in other circumstances seem like pretty small changes, so it's always with some trepidation that we make any changes at all, and (nature of the beast, universally true for probably any site, household, business, or therapy group) we who work on the site don't all agree on everything, so sometimes we make moves that at least some people will think are foolish. It's very hard to please all the people, all the time.
I happen not to mind polls on the front page (as a reader), but we're still working on this change; we might find a way to better balance the front-page (visible, gives more front-page-only page-scanning readers obvious notification that it's there) with the sidebar (harder to spot, but longer-lasting placement). Other changes we hope to see include credit for submitting polls (!) -- overdue, but complicated a bit because of the way polls have been done on the site since they first appeared. (When a regular old submission is upgraded to a posted story, the submitter gets a karma boost and credit; with polls, the interface we use to create the multi-option poll doesn't handle that step as we'd like.)
Orthogonal to above: we like poll ideas, even while we currently have a gap in crediting them, so submitting some ideas (Question or topic, and optional but welcome a set of possible answers) is always appreciated.