Public Policy Polling has separated itself from the other polling outfits through one simple trick: Its polls include weird questions. It’s how we found out, for example, that God had a 52-percent approval rating last year, and that only 19 percent of GOP voters polled believed Obama was going to heaven.
They are not questions of any dire importance, which is why it’s easy to chuckle at the results and move on to the ones that actually tell us real things. But this time … this time Dean Debnam and company have gone a bridge too far: They asked 979 likely Wisconsin voters how they felt about “conservative media figures.”
Bias! Outrage! Somebody have a freakout!
Thankfully, Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin stepped up. She spins us a yarn, beneath the totally accurate and only marginally hysterical headline “Exclusive: PPP caught doing advocacy polling on race”:
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?” He said, “That bugged me.”
And what should we think of this, Ms. Rubin?
PPP, a Democratic polling outfit, has long been viewed by suspicion by not only conservatives but by independent, credible pollsters. Now there is all the more reason to discount its “polling” as shoddy partisanship.
Here is the situation: Drudge puts out a video of Obama talking to black people in 2007, a video last published in, oh, 2007. But THIS time around, they had a classic Scared White Folks narrative to fit it into, which they did, to make people think Obama maybe wanted to stand up for black people by stepping on whites.
The same week, PPP sends out this poll asking, among other normal-people questions about governors and presidents and stuff, “Do you think Barack Obama hates white people, or not?” and if that is the goal of some conservative media outlets.
This, obviously, means that PPP is the organization guilty of “shoddy partisanship.” Certainly not the people who randomly dredged up a video that’s been on the internet for five years.
Don’t worry though! Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson, the smug, still-unwaterboarded Sean Hannity, and that Drudge guy are still so, so upset about it. According, that is, to the PPP Twitter account:
“Neil Munro just e-mailed me expressing concern that our WI poll may have made Drudge, Carlson, and Hannity feel disrespected,” the tweet said.
Munro, as you know, became the Disrespect Chancellor of the Free World when he attended remarks by the president of the United States and decided to interrupt him. Now he’s policing the bounds of tact by telling random pollsters that his boss has a case of the sads because he found out 92 percent of Wisconsin either has no idea what his website is or actively hates it. Mayhaps he is wiping his tears with birth certificates.
PPP should know better than to gauge the public’s reaction to a thing media people told them, and to follow up with asking how they feel about those media people. That’s not what polls are for.