Sunday, July 27, 2008

Simplistic Question, Predictable Response

NBC News has been touting one of the six questions asked in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey of 1,003 registered voters conducted July 18-21, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points. Respondents were asked "As you think about the presidential race and the direction in which the next president will take the country, who do you think would be the riskier choice for president–John McCain or Barack Obama?"

Not surprisingly, the response was Barack Obama- 55%, John McCain- 35%.

This was about as suspenseful a question- in reverse- as asking "who is more likely to bring about change, John McCain or Barack Obama?" Change is by nature risky. And Barack Obama, the new kid on the block, personifies change. John McCain looks, and sounds, like the same old thing.

The Illinois Senator said much the same when asked by Tom Brokaw on the 7/27/08 episode of Meet The Press:

And then there is this as well, which is an important question that we asked our audience. "Who's the riskier choice" to be the president with two wars and an economic meltdown going on at home? Senator McCain does much better in that poll than you do. Does that surprise you? (Note Brokaw's misleading addition of the phrase "with two wars and an economic meltdown going on at home.")

Obama replied in part:

No, because, let's say we had reversed--or rephrased the question. Let's say the question had been, "Who's more likely to bring about change in the country?" I suspect I would beat Senator McCain handily. Or another way we could have phrased it was, "Who's more likely to maintain the status quo?" Well, John McCain would have won that poll handily.

Exactly right- I just wish I had written this before Obama said it.

1 comment:

Dan said...

i see you are still at it mr. richter!

It seems that most polls, like this one, heavily dictate the answers.

I eagerly await the debates.

This "R" Stands for More than "Reprehensible"

He's not insane but if Jim Steinman was right that "two out of three ain't bad," three out of four is quite good. Th...