October 29, 2008

Integrity in Polling and Journalism: How Far To Go?

Posted in Outside Malaysia tagged at 2:01 pm by egalitaria

Gallup Polls - Influencing Voters Pre-Elections?

Gallup Polls - Influencing Voters Pre-Elections?

One of the questions that we have been asking political analysts here in Washington DC is whether or not these two things are influencing voters in advance of the elections (notwithstanding the 18% of voters who have already cast their votes in early elections!):

1. Polls

2. Op-Ed pieces and Reports

 

This casts a new light on the issues of integrity in polling and journalism: How far should they go, without influencing the vote? To be honest, they are going to go ahead anyways, but the issue is where do you draw the line on integrity?

 

First, let’s talk about polling. The questions that are being asked may have a certain bias to them, perhaps? Every question asked has an expected outcome, surely. Most of the polls (check http://www.electoral-vote.com) conduct interviews with landline phones at home, not on handphones which would give you younger, more pro-Obama results. Secondly, only 9% of respondents complete the poll in full. So you are getting 91% of people not finishing the poll.

 

Further, as Obama is polling higher rates than McCain, will these lead people on to believing that they should “go with the winner”? Or will they instead react in slight fear and cause the vote to swing McCain’s way? (mind you, much of Southern America is still conservative to the full, and Obama is still a black man running for the highest seat in the country.)

Journalism. We had the honour of Bill Nichols speaking to us today, who runs Politico, an online news site which although started in January 2007 is one of the leading Elections sites today. (He worked in USA Today for 20 years and covered the White House and the State Department). His site was the first to run the story on how the Republican Party spent $150,000 on Palin’s clothes. When asked why he decided to run it, and not focus on say, the clothes of Obama, he replied that there was value to the story and he followed journalistic integrity through objectivity.

Others might argue, though, that this is not necessarily objective reasoning since the party was validly using the money that had been validly donated to them through valid means, for reasons they thought best and most suitable. All writing has a biased agenda, based primarily on the writers’ own political sentiments, and did this perhaps shine through in the selection of coverage?

Whatever it is, everyone can agree that the polling results and online articles are definitely having an influence on the perception of voters.

3 Comments

  1. LV said,

    Politico is in the tank for Obama. Just as Obama, his campaign and his supporters engaged in sexist attacks on Hillary Clinton, demonizing Bill Clinton as a racist and more race baiting on John McCain, the same sexist attacks are now levied on Sarah Palin by making an issue of her clothes.

    McCain and Palin has already made it clear that once the campaign is over, Palin’s wardrobe during the campaign will be donated and auctioned off for charity. Palin is not as rich as Obama, she personally does not have a wardrobe befitting the image of a national-level VP candidate. Hence, McCain’s campaign decided that these expenditures were necessary, as there is a need to maintain a certain level/standard of professionalism in the image of their VP candidate.

  2. LV said,

    Why doesn’t Politico cover the even more shocking expenses of Obama in his self-indulgent and self-absorbed exercises of constructing a “temple” for himself during the “Democratic” Party Convention so that his cultists can worship him and prop up his huge ego and hubris? That self-indulgent, self-absorbed, preening exercise of Obama cost a shocking US$5.3 million:

    hotair.com/archives/2008/10/24/final-bill-on-the-barackopolis-53-million/

    You don’t see the most of the biased pro-Obama US MSM like CNN and MSNBC covering that. Or whether anyone covers the wasteful spending of Obama throughout the presidential campaign:

    hotair.com/archives/2008/10/24/nbc-obama-spending-293000-an-hour-in-october/

  3. LV said,

    Obama spends nearly twice on what was a one-time cost for Sarah Palin’s VP wardrobe, and he spends such an amount (more than US$293,000) EACH HOUR. This coming from a guy who is doing nothing to help his brother in a slum in Kenya

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uselection2008/barackobama/2590614/Barack-Obamas-lost-brother-found-in-Kenya.html

    Not surprising, since according to Obama’s tax returns, in the years before he started running for US President, both Obamas have only donated 1% of their annual income to charity in comparison to the Clintons who donate 10% or more of their annual income:
    http://www.talkleft.com/story/2008/3/25/152754/611

    And I am sure a significant portion of their “charity” went to the racist and hate-filled church of Jeremiah Wright.

    There’s have been a lot of people who have been fooled by this snake-oil salesman, and have been carelessly throwing money at him.


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