Friday, September 14, 2007


The questions in that new Fox poll (PDF) seems mostly straightforward, and the results don't seem very different from what's showing up in other polls -- for instance, Bush's approval is 37% and his disapproval is 58%. And as I noted in the last post, the poll reports that the public doesn't trust General Petraeus.

That's why I find the big news item in the poll so disheartening:

A majority of Americans say they would feel more comfortable with Rudy Giuliani in the White House than Hillary Clinton if another terrorist attack were to happen in the United States, according to a new FOX News poll.

...The latest FOX News poll shows that if the United States were hit with a terrorist attack, by a 50 percent to 36 percent margin, Americans would rather have Giuliani in charge than Clinton, including 28 percent of Democrats and an overwhelming 80 percent of Republicans. Independents split in Giuliani's favor 47 percent to Clinton's 28 percent....

Hey, America: Keep craving Daddies and you'll keep electing Bushes and Cheneys.

For the most part, this isn't a classic push poll -- a poll intended to spread nasty ideas about one candidate or party. It's more like a semi-push poll -- Murdoch is pushing the idea of a Clinton/Giuliani race, presumably because he thinks it will sell newspapers and draw eyeballs to his news network (Murdoch knows just how to cover this particular drama), and presumably because he thinks he can have either Rudy or Hillary, as president, in his back pocket. It confirms my suspicion that Rupert Murdoch's recent courtship of Hillary Clinton wasn't the result of a newfound respect for her, or even a belief that she can't lose. He wants to pick both nominees.


Another semi-pushy aspect to the poll: Respondents (of all parties) were given the names of the major Republicans and asked "whether each of these words or phrases better describe Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson or John McCain":

Honest and trustworthy
A real conservative
Personally moral
Has the right experience
Strong leader
Has clear stands on the issues

They were then asked "whether these phrases better describe Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or John Edwards":

Honest and trustworthy
A person who shares my values
Personally moral
Can bring about needed change
Has the right experience
Would do anything to win

It all seems so innocuous -- until you get to that last Democratic phrase. Gosh, how'd that get in there? (Three guesses which Democrat ranked highest on that, by far.) That's subtle push-polling.

Why -- in spite of all the incredibly nasty things Republicans have done to get elected over the years -- do we never say about any Republican that he or she would "do anything to win"?


Oh, and here's one additional odd Murdoch twist in the poll:

About half of Americans (49 percent) think it's appropriate for Oprah Winfrey to use her celebrity to encourage people to vote for Obama, while almost as many -- 45 percent -- disagree.

Will Winfrey's endorsement make a difference? It could....The poll finds that 68 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of her....

Plus, even though only 13 percent say Winfrey's endorsement makes them more likely to vote for Obama, that equates into millions of potential votes. Unfortunately for Obama, there are nearly three times as many people (30 percent) who say Winfrey's backing makes them less likely to vote for him, and hardly any people (8 percent) say they have ever voted a certain way because of a celebrity endorsement....

Why was that asked? Because Murdoch thinks Americans are interested in anything whatsoever about a celebrity? Because Murdoch fears an Obama victory in the primaries? Because Murdoch doesn't have Oprah under contract to Fox and wants to undermine her?

I'd say all of the above.

No comments: