Wednesday, November 08, 2006


“Voters signal Obama Support” is the headline in the Peoria Journal Star on November 2006, page A1.  The subhead reads “59 percent say they would cast ballot for senator if he ran for president in 2008.”  The story is by Dana Heupel of Copley News Service.  The first four paragraphs state:

“Three out of five Illinois voters would support U.S. Sen. Barack Obama if he runs for president in 2008, a new Copley poll shows.

But only half think the time is right for the newly risen political star to shoot for the nation’s highest office.

In the statewide survey, taken Monday and Tuesday, 59 percent of those polled said they would cast their ballots for the Illinois senator if he were the Democratic candidate for president.  Twenty-eight percent said they would not, and 13 percent were unsure.

When asked whether Obama should run in 2008, however, 50 percent said he should, 39 percent said he should not and 11 percent were unsure.”

Wrong!  Wrong!!  Wrong!!!  Can’t they read?  By “they”, I mean both the writer of the article and the person who wrote the subhead.  Fortunately, not only was the story printed but so were the two pertinent questions asked in the poll.  The actual questions are not always given although they should be since the wording of the question is important in relation to the answer given.

One survey question according to the article was: “Senator Barack Obama has been mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate for president in 2008.  Do you think Obama should run for president in 2008, or not?” (page A3)  The other question according to the article was: “If Obama was the Democratic Party candidate for president in 2008, would you consider voting for him or not?” (page A1)  Do you recognize the error in the article?  I would hope so even if the editor obviously did not!

In the article, the author wrote: “59% of those polled said they would cast their ballots for the Illinois senator if he were the Democratic candidate for president.”  THE POLLING QUESTION DID NOT ASK THAT!  The question asked: “WOULD YOU CONSIDER VOTING….”

There is a different between considering to vote for a person and actually declaring that you would vote for that person.  I might consider voting for any candidate on the ballot.  I would not actually vote for every candidate on the ballot.  

So, I ask again: CAN THESE PEOPLE READ?        

This is yet another example of why you can’t believe what you read in a newspaper.  If the article did not also include the actual questions asked in the poll, you would have no way of knowing that the information given in the story was false.  And, without question, it is false!    

So, was it deliberate or are there at least three different people (or at least, three different functions being performed—write, edit, write the subhead) who just can’t read.  



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