The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Polling and Propaganda

Letter to the Editor | Thursday, September 10, 2009

Nate Balmert may not be the best person to be fighting against the perception that the GOP is largely an uneducated party.

First, I don’t know where this magical “10 seat” conjecture comes from. Independent polling group Research2000 shows a 20-point lead for Democrats in Congress with regard to favorability, and only right-leaning Rasmussen Reports shows a lead for Republicans in a generic congressional ballot poll. Democracy Corps (nine points), Ipsos-McClatchy (eight points) and Pew (one point) all show a lead for Democrats continuing despite the constant and eerily belligerent fear mongering coming from the right, especially with regard to health insurance reform. (The health reform movement has a whole lot more to do with greedy insurance companies than greedy doctors.)

The more egregious error, however, comes in a reference to a poll done by Zogby and commissioned by John Ziegler. John Zogby essentially disowned the poll (which was accepted and performed by his group while he was away on a book tour), saying that “something, somehow fell through the cracks.” The source on that is Carl Bialik of the Wall Street Journal, which I don’t think we can refer to as part of the media’s vast left wing conspiracy.

The poll itself was ludicrous on its face. Questions about Palin and McCain’s misgivings stretched back about a month or two, while inaccurately worded and obviously biased questions about Obama and Biden stretched back to 1987 and to Obama’s first ever campaign.

Additionally, the sample consisted only of Obama supporters. Not a single McCain supporter was asked a single question in this poll. Nate Silver, probably the most reputable pollster from the last election cycle, interviewed Ziegler on his website, and the full transcript is available by way of a google search. In it, Ziegler’s less-than-noble goals are revealed pretty clearly, and the fact that you’re referencing this man’s heavy-handed borderline push-poll as an example of the prevalence of uneducated Democrats is a pretty awesome lesson in hypocrisy.

Chris Doyen



Sept. 10