Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Ziegler Poll: A Fact Check

I posted a comment on LTG's post below but I thought I would take this a little further. Let's look at John Ziegler's entire poll and see what is true as he presents it, and what isn't.

200. Before this past election, which political party controlled both houses of congress?
201. Which candidate could not say how many houses they own?
202. Which candidate said they could see Russia from their house?

These questions at least have a correct answer. The correct answer to #202 is "None of the Above" (Sarah Palin said one could see Russia from Alaska, not from her house).

203. Which candidate had to quit a previous political campaign because they were found to have plagiarized a speech? Joe Biden did indeed use pieces from a British leader's stump speech in his 1988 campaign. But he also repeatedly credited the man for the rhetoric. And I haven't seen anything saying that this was the reason he withdrew from the race -- little help here?

204. Which candidate won their first election by getting all of their opponents kicked off the ballot? Barack Obama ran unopposed in the Democratic primary race for the state Senate seat representing Chicago's 13th District because he successfully challenged his potential Democratic opponents' petitions to appear on the ballot. That's true. If you want to call that "getting all of [his] opponents kicked off the ballot", well, no arguing that. But of course, there's more to the story. For instance, one of his opponents suspects some of the signatures on his petition were indeed forged:

Askia filed 1,899 signatures, but the Obama team sustained objections to 1,211, leaving him 69 short, records show.

Leafing through scrapbooks in his South Shore apartment, Askia, a perennially unsuccessful candidate, acknowledges that he paid Democratic Party precinct workers $5 a sheet for some of the petitions, and now suspects they used a classic Chicago ruse of passing the papers among themselves to forge the signatures. "They round-tabled me," Askia said.
Obama's main opponent, Alice Palmer, was running for Congress at the time and told Obama she would not run for re-election to the state senate seat. It does appear there were legitimate problems with her signatures as well, including many people who did not live in her district. (Media Matters cites an AP story I can't find)

205. Which candidate wore clothes that their political party reportedly spent $150,000 on?
206. Which candidate currently has a pregnant teenage daughter?
207. Which candidate said that Obama would be tested in his first six months as president by a generated international crisis?

I have no problem with any of these.

208. Which candidate claimed to have campaigned in 57 states? Again, can't argue with this one. What's fascinating to me is the conservative spin on this statement.

209. Which candidate said their policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket? This one really bothers me. Here's the actual quote:
What I've said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else's out there. I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter.... So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted. That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar, wind, biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches. The only thing I've said with respect to coal, I haven't been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as an ideological matter, as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it.
This is the cap-and-trade system that John McCain also favors.

210. Which candidate said that the government should redistribute the wealth? You could argue something about this being misleading, but it's true. Here's a good article from Slate on the subject.

211. Which candidate started their political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground? Ugh. I posted this link in the comments to the last post which effectively takes down this bizarre lie.

There you have it. We pride ourselves here on being a good forum for discussion, so if you disagree with any of the above, let us know in the comments.


The Law Talking Guy said...

The incredible slant to even the more factual questions is a serious problem.

I have a real question with #204. It suggests that Obama was not following the rules, but he was. The other candidates were not.

Raised By Republicans said...

I also like how they gloss over the fact that "all his opponents" meant the Democratic primary. Of course in Chicago, that's the real trial. But the Republicans don't want to go into detail about why... namely that Republicans have so alienated minority and urban populations that they are no longer viable in Chicago.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I do not believe this is an example of push polling. The survey does not, however, illustrate what Ziegler claims it does.

The survey measures how many respondents could recall the media story or rumor presented in sufficient detail. But because these stories were presented as "facts," the survey does not measure at all whether the voters actually believed them.

I would have correctly answered five of them (#203, #204, #205, #206, #2010) that I believe to be fair statements. I would have also "correctly" answered five more of them (#201, #202, #207, #208, #211) even though I believe them to be unfair statements. (I would have had no clue on #209.)

So by Mr. Ziegler's test, I would appear to be a real sucker, even though in truth I think at least half of those "facts" are crap.

Raised By Republicans said...

It's not a push poll in the strictest definition perhaps but it is clearly an abuse of the form of a survey to advance a particular point of view rather than to actually learn something.

I don't think Ziegler's "poll" and reveal anything at all with any substantive validity.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Just correcting my own lists... #205 is questionable. I originally put it in the "fair" statement because of the word "reportedly" (nearly all the questions should have had that!) but it might belong in the unfair category. The funds were for her whole family, not just her, and there are a lot of questions about the dollar figure. Still, it is true that an awful lot of money was spent on her wardrobe.