I spoke by phone today with Wisconsin voter Dave Summers, who lives in the Madison area. He told me, “I got a survey. I don’t normally answer these calls, but I did [this time]. I started out pretty normal — President, Senate.” However, he said it then got weirder. The automatic survey asked if he had a favorable or unfavorable impression of Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson. He said he was greatly disturbed when the automated call then asked, “Do you believe conservative media want white people to think Barack Obama hates them?”That was just like the poll with the OBL question - it started out with straight questions about whom I was voting for and what my opinion was of various figures. And then it slipped in that doozy of a question that seemed to come from nowhere.
Rubin followed up with PPP to ask them about their question.
I called Tom Jensen of PPP. He said that it was his poll. I asked whether this wasn’t a classic advocacy poll designed to get a specific answer. He demurred, “Well, we were asking a series of questions about conservative media.” He said that this call followed the posting on Drudge of the 2007 video in which then-Sen. Barack Obama (D- Ill.) talks about Hurricane Katrina and denying aid to residents. He claimed that since conservative media were trying to make an issue of this (in fact most conservative outlets downplayed or ignored the issue), it was important to see whether that effort (to poison the thinking of white voters, I suppose) was “successful.”Rubin then posts the script of the PPP questions in their Wisconsin poll.
The questions on conservative media and on white people were asked at the very end of the poll.
Wasn’t a question that put the conclusion in the question a leading question? “No, it wasn’t a leading question,” Jensen insisted. He then sent over the questions, which for reasons he did not explain were not released publicly.
But of course the question is one that imparts the information to the voter in the most slanted way possible. There are no questions about liberal media or bias. To ask the question is to assume that conservative media are up to make white people fear Obama
Every independent or Republican pollster I asked was shocked by the poll question, though many declined to talk on the record about the work of a competitor.
I think that their whole purpose was to get a result and then publish it to say that a certain percent of Republicans think that Obama hates white people and then to follow up with a statistic about how many blame conservative media for pushing the story. They did the same thing with the poll question I was asked - they put out their results and let it get picked up by liberals who could then use it as a talking point against Republicans.
Remember these two examples of how PPP is using their polls to manufacture a storyline that can then be turned back on Republicans. If that is the type of goal that they have in their polling, why shouldn't we be skeptical of the results that they get in their supposedly neutral polling?