Friday, August 12, 2005

John Zogby and the Return of the 10-Foot Poll


In the interest of full disclosure, I will begin by saying that I neither like nor respect John Zogby. During the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election campaign, Mr. Zogby not only mixed his telephone respondent pool with his online respondent poll for a number of his opinion polls, he also voiced a clear advocacy for John Kerry’s campaign, most egregiously when he bluntly stated in June that Kerry would win the Presidential election. Within a month, Zogby was backing off the promise, but the evidence of his clear partiality was already plain, and for a professional pollster to make the statements Zogby did, betrays either an unconscionable bias, or such slipshod methodology as to make his conclusions worthless as a barometer of public opinion.

I received an e-mail from Mr. Zogby this week, one of those broadcast types we see form companies trying to sell a product while implying that they are sending you a personal message. My thoughts about Zogby’s practices having been published last summer and fall, I am under no illusion that Mr. Zogby is seeking out my opinion of his statements, but as I have received the e-mail, my response is forthcoming anyway.

Writing for a periodical identified only as “The Financial Times”, Mr. Zogby began his article so:

I have received a flurry of calls from reporters in the past few days
asking me to clarify something difficult to understand. They suggested that George W. Bush, US president, had had a very good week and wondered why his cluster of successes had not been reflected in the national polls

Interesting statement. At first glance, once might be led to believe that Mr. Zogby is referring to the standard coterie of MSM reporters, but even they are not likely to Dubya as “George W. Bush, US President”. That odd formality smacks of the European mind, and the old continental style at that. It also explains the name of the periodical; in the U.S., political news is reported by political papers and political sections of magazines. The Europeans are quite unlikely to give even a rat’s hindquarters about the state of a President’s popularity, except where money is involved, and the condition of their own investments is quite likely to be driven by the U.S. Stock Market, which supposedly is affected by the popularity of the President.

Zogby goes on to cite the Gallup Poll, his own piece of work, CBS and Ipsos-Reid. He completely ignores all the other polls, which only reinforces my earlier opinion of his inability to see beyond his sneer, a common Liberal trait but a weakness in a professional. I note that Zogby has taken only one of Gallup’s indictors, instead of the more balanced array of questions that group employs, and as for CBS/Zogby/Ipsos, the clear anti-Bush bias in those polls has been documented and reported many times and long ago, by myself and others. I suppose the next step for Zogby, would have been to quote Carville, but as it would happen, the Democracy Corps poll’s most recent numbers for the President show him at 46 percent, which is actually higher than the point Zogby is trying to sell. It truly says something, when James Carville has more respect for the President than John Zogby can manage to observe. I guess John didn’t poll in all of the Red States. . .

Zogby made a weak effort to sound balanced, as he noted that specific pieces of legislation rarely excite the public, but being Zogby, he moved on to try to sell his schtick again, and as usual, got in trouble with the facts. Zogby wrote:

most important, the US is still polarized [sic] over the war in Iraq and half the nation is still bitter over the 2004 election. Mr Bush's presidency is all about Iraq. This is fitting because it is what he and his team wanted from the time they took office.”

This is, for those of you not familiar with the Zogby style, a formation of claims known to many people plainly as a pack of lies. Most Americans support the War in Iraq, although everyone is grieved by the continuing violence. The overwhelming majority of people not named Moore, Dean, or Zogby have gotten past the election. Indeed, it’s difficult to find a rational person who even brings up the election results these days. Claiming that Bush’s Administration is all about Iraq is just a poor attempt to ignore the many successes of Dubya’s service so far, and to pretend that the President and his Administration wanted a war “from the time they took office”, is the kind of tripe one normally has to go to Daily Kos to suffer.

So, in the end, nothing is changed. John Zogby, like most other high-profile Liberals, has reached the end of reason, and then chose to dive off the deep end into full-blown hysteria.

Say ‘hello’ to Maureen Dowd, John.

No comments: