Man Without Qualities

Sunday, May 30, 2004


To approximate a Zogby Poll, one only has to ask:

What polling results would get the pollster the largest amount of media fuss?

Let's see. There has been a big supposed drop in President Bush's approval ratings as the media flogged the long-dead Abu Ghraib story - but a curious failure of that drop to be much reflected in Mr. Bush's ranking against Senator Kerry, especially in most "battlefield states."

Voila! The Zogby Poll (click on "Battlefield States Poll") finds Kerry leading Bush by big margins in lots of battlefield states! Much more so than any other poll except the silly CBS methodologically-hilarious blip.


But it's all nonsense. The constant barrage of hostile media coverage of Mr. Bush and his administration has mostly served to distort polling results and generally make polls less reliable and likely more pro-Kerry and pro-Democrat. Zogby's willingness to engage in flagrant media flirtation has exacerbated the whole distortive effect in that poll - making it essentially worthless and making the real question it raises: Who at the Wall Street Journal has judgment so bad as to have hired Zogby at all? In any event, this kind of distortion of public opinion resembles the ripple from pebbles tossed into a pond: Flashy, but it doesn't take long to dissipate.

For example, Ohio is supposedly a big, key battlefield state leaning towards Kerry. Except it isn't:

Republican Bush was at 47 percent, followed by Kerry at 41 percent and Nader at 3 percent among registered voters surveyed by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research for The Plain Dealer. Results were released late Saturday.

Nine percent of voters were undecided.

Bush's lead came although about half in the poll expressed disapproval of his handling of the economy, found to be the No. 1 issue among Ohio voters. The state is one of several in the region to lose manufacturing jobs under Bush, while Kerry has made the jobs issue central to his White House campaign.

These latest results come two weeks after an American Research Group poll of 600 likely voters found Kerry had edged ahead of Bush in the state, 49 percent to 42 percent, with Nader at 2 percent.

And just think about what these poll numbers will read once a lot more voters figure out that the economy is actually doing quite well and things aren't going badly in Iraq at all and we're winning the war on terror.

UPDATE: Some specific, South Dakota, Zogbyrot - nicely skewered by RealClear.

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