Man Without Qualities

Monday, January 05, 2004

Mickey Is All Agog ...

... over that Time/CNN poll showing Bush only defeating Dean by 51-46 percent and over the construction placed on the poll by TNR. O-my-Gosh! TNR says that the country is more polarized than ever!

It's worth noting that the Time/CNN poll was conducted Dec. 30-Jan 1. That is, the Time/CNN poll was taken over New Year's and New Year's Eve. Is there a period of time for which it is more difficult to control for prospective poll respondents' behavior? I can't think of any such period. Who was home to answer this poll? (Not us! We were at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs if any of the Time/CNN polsters tried to call. A very nice place for New Year's, by the way.) Who in his right mind would bother to answer a political pollster calling on, say, New Year's Eve? And who was sober enough so that the answers made any sense? ("Who am I VOTING for? Why I'm voting for HOWARD DEAN!... HA HA ... HA! That's who I'm voting for! HAPPY NEW YEAR! WHOOPEE!")

President Bush had a 20 percentage point lead (55% to 35%) over Howard Dean in the latest CBS News poll - which was taken Dec. 22-23. The ABC News/Washington Post Poll of Dec. 18-21 showed Bush leading Dean by 18 percent.

Is it possible that Bush's post-Saddam-capture "bounce" abated so much in favor of Dean between the pre-Christmas week and New Year's? Possible, but highly unlikely.

It's perfectly reasonable and intelligent for Kausfiles to draw attention to this poll - the results are certainly intriguing. And TNR and anyone else who cares to can spill their ink and ingrams as they see fit. But personally I'd advise waiting for a major poll that is not taken over a huge, traditionally inebriated, out-of-the-house holiday before using what is likely one stray poll as a base from which to launch some hi-falutin analysis of how and why the country is becoming "more polarized."


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