Ziegler responds to his critics

posted at 7:31 am on November 19, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

On Monday, John Ziegler launched his website, How Obama Got Elected, and came under a deluge of criticism after demonstrating the ignorance of politics and Obama’s positions and statements among Obama voters.  First some claimed that Zogby didn’t really do a poll showing these results, and then later claimed that Zogby had push-polled to get them.  Yesterday, I interviewed Ziegler to get his side of the story, and later he responded on his website:

While I am gratified that hundreds of thousands of people have viewed (and throughly enjoyed) the youtube video that I created for www.howobamagotelected.com I have been distressed by the general nature of the liberal response (just go to the comments section of the video and see for yourself!).

While I guess I should not have expected much from the followers of a false Messiah virtually installed by an adoring media, even I have been a bit taken aback by the absurdity of much of the reaction to the video and the Zogby poll that I commissioned.

Ziegler rebuts five arguments, two of which are ad hominem and really don’t merit a response (he’s a racist for doing the poll, and he’s conservative and therefore not credible), although Ziegler answers those charges as well.  The other three don’t hold water, either, but at least are arguments:

McCain voters were probably just as dumb.  Ziegler’s offered a double-or-nothing deal to anyone who wants to recreate the same poll for McCain voters.  If that survey shows the same results, he’ll pay the cost of both polls, but if the results are significantly different, the challenger has to pay for both polls (reimburse Ziegler for the first).  Ziegler’s fairly confident he’ll get the better of that challenge, and he’s probably right.

The poll Ziegler commissioned has an inadvertent control — the Palin questions.  These respondents were highly cognizant of Sarah Palin’s details, but not of Obama or Biden’s.  That reflects on the media more than the voters, and most people missed the point of this exercise.  It wasn’t to show Obama voters as ignorant, but the media as complicit in ensuring that they remained ignorant, at least in terms of Obama.

Questions were biased or wrong.  None of them were wrong in the sense of having inaccurate information.  One can criticize the question about seeing Russia from Palin’s house, which Palin never said but Tina Fey did in her satire of Palin.  Otherwise, the questions themselves all accurately reflected the events of the campaign.  None of them should have been terribly obscure, either, but again, that depends on how well the media covered these events.  Quite obviously by this poll result, the media covered Bristol Palin’s pregnancy and Sarah Palin’s wardrobe far more effectively than Joe Biden’s plagiarism or Barack Obama’s admission that his policies would make energy prices skyrocket.

This was a push poll.  This is easily the most ignorant of the criticisms, other than the aforementioned ad hominem attacks.  I’ve been push-polled several times, and this doesn’t even come close.  A push poll attempts to get a specific answer based on feeding the survey subject information that a campaign wants to get out, usually a gossipy tidbit they don’t want to run in an ad.  Typically, this would come in a question such as “Would you vote for James Kirk as best Star Trek captain even if you knew that he secretly killed Tribbles in his spare time and refused to promote Chekov because Kirk felt threatened by his popularity among the crew?”

Push polls don’t use multiple-choice answers, at least not in this sense (sometimes they use a scale of likelihood).  They don’t even use open-ended questions.  They use closed-ended questions to get commitment.  They’re specific to a single candidate or party.  Zogby’s questions didn’t do any of that.  They asked about specific events and gave four potential people for respondents to associate with these events.

Zogby’s polls have plenty of room for criticism, but these aren’t valid at all.


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How fascinating.

Jim Treacher on November 19, 2008 at 11:16 AM

Thank you. I’m flattered.

tru2tx on November 19, 2008 at 11:59 AM

“The poll Ziegler commissioned has an inadvertent control — the Palin questions. These respondents were highly cognizant of Sarah Palin’s details, but not of Obama or Biden’s. That reflects on the media more than the voters…”
My husband, a conservative (registered as a Demo) has a hard time with such poll/videos because he feels sorry for the ignorant. I don’t, it makes me angry. I also don’t agree that the media is more culpable than these tools. If I can inform myself without listening to the propaganda as truth, then why can’t they? (I know, it’s the Koolaid).

Christine on November 19, 2008 at 12:01 PM

If you haven’t read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” it’s time to fire it up.

I’m 2/3 through and it’s unbelievable …. should be required reading for every American in high school.

A true masterpiece, but best of all, it’s EMBOLDENING me to act.

Let’s roll.

ex-Democrat on November 19, 2008 at 12:04 PM

Was this poll covered by any other network besides Fox? I am fairly sure I know the answer already but on the outside chance that any have developed a conscience since the goal of electing Obama was accomplished I thought I would ask.

msmveritas on November 19, 2008 at 12:10 PM

This is entirely incorrect. You forget, the Right consists of two wings: Libertarians and Conservatives.

I’m a Libertarian, and I listen to Limbaugh, Hannity, and other Conservatives, just as I listen to libertarians like Dennis Miller, Boortz and Larry Elder. And I have numerous Conservative friends who listen to Miller, Boortz, Elder, Tammy Bruce, et.al. They probably cringe when the issue of drug legalization or repealing the income tax is brought up, but they still listen.

The Left, on the other hand, is monolithic. All Leftists want bigger government. And they all spout off the same Nanny-state nonsense, be it Bill Mahr, Jon Stewart, NPR, CNN, Newsweek, whomever.

There is no “Libertarian” counterpart on the Left. There is no second wing, if you will, as there is on the Right.

Rightists are routinely exposed to both Libertarian and Conservative views. Leftists only get Pro-Statist.

ericdondero on November 19, 2008 at 8:26 AM

Who were the Repub. candidates? Let’s see:
McCain: center or left for a R.
Romney: Reminded me of a Repub. Kerry, flip-flopper, would say anything to get elected
Huck: Maybe a litte to Christian for some.
Rudy: Ya gotta be kiddin’ me.
Thompson: Can’t speak without a script? Needed more coffee.
Ron Paul: Only one who understands ecoomics. Spin put on his war stance sunk him.

I had high hopes for Dr. Paul, but his Libertarian message drew in enough fringe type voters to totally turn off the religous conservatives in the party.

And of course no help from the media for any of the R’s except for Rudy.

My wife is always bitchin’ at me that “the Republicans are bad too!” I tend to agree. They are often less bad than the Dims in my opinion. My old saying was always, “The Repubs. steal less than the Dems. waste.” Not sure that is true anymore. fwiw

riverrat10k on November 19, 2008 at 12:12 PM

If you get your news from a single source then you are not thinking on your own. Question everything you hear until you have validated it on your own and do not fall into the trap of only listing to people who agree with you. – Think!

dpierson on November 19, 2008 at 11:27 AM

My thoughts exactly. My favorite night of the week is Monday when I have beers and play darts at a microbrewery. Many of those “drinkin’ buddies” are as lib as they get. I mentioned last time that “you don’t learn anything from talking to people that agree with you.” I think he spent the next hour actually thinking about whatever I was ranting about.

riverrat10k on November 19, 2008 at 12:26 PM

I thought the “Russia” question was the most ingenious.

It was clear that the intent of this survey was not to ridicule the Obama supporters per se (they did that to themselves), but to highlight the effectiveness with which information had been fed to them – information about McCain/Palin, yet a positive vacuum for Obama/Biden.

The “Russia” question was the icing on the cake. Not only had these people been spoonfed only what the media wanted them to know, these people were incapable of distinguishing a fictional satire from the rest of the deluge.

The media indoctrination campaign seems to have been a gold-medal communist masterpiece.

LimeyGeek on November 19, 2008 at 12:32 PM

The truth will be found when the anti-Ziegler commenters here stop whining and fund their own Zogby poll + documentary to prove Ziegler’s wrong. I am very interested in seeing those results.

If one is being objective, then one will see Ziegler has produced statistical evidence backed by video interviews as proof. Therefore any amount of anonymous carping by alleged “Obamicans” and academics about Ziegler’s methods won’t move the needle here. Ziegler has facts to back his opinions on media bias.

Show us proof so that your opinion will be backed by fact. Until then, your infantile squawking about bias and push polling is nothing more than a delicious hypocrisy for us to savor.

ScottMcC on November 19, 2008 at 12:35 PM

In the words of a fictional Bayou la Batre man…
“That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”

brianpierre on November 19, 2008 at 10:34 AM

Forrest was from Greenbow, AlaBAMA!

hair – split

rmel80 on November 19, 2008 at 12:47 PM

Actually, we on the right need to push the two themes from this hard;

That the media pushed so hard for Obama they got voters to believe an SNL satire was real.

That Obama voters are grossly ignorant of our government, laws, and history.

If we can establish these memes now, it will make things much easier in 2010 and 2012. Neither of these themes is really surprising, but now we have something concrete, and trust me that will make a world of difference.

18-1 on November 19, 2008 at 12:48 PM

OK. I gotta admit I thought Palin said the “Russia from my house” line, too. Obama supporters on blogs would claim that she said it, and nobody ever corrected them, so I thought it was true.

Maybe we needed a myth debunking page.

(Got the rest of them right, though.)

Bobbertsan on November 19, 2008 at 1:11 PM

The Ziegler poll just brings back memories from another poll, from Rasmussen, that illustrated the idiocy of BHO supporters:

While 82% of voters who support McCain believe the justices should rule on what is in the Constitution, just 29% of Barack Obama’s supporters agree. Just 11% of McCain supporters say judges should rule based on the judge’s sense of fairness, while nearly half (49%) of Obama supporters agree.

BHO happens to fall into the 49% section of his supporters who have no idea what the Constitution is, or how our nation is structured, “If a woman is out there trying to raise a family, trying to support her family, and is being treated unfairly, then the court has to stand up, if nobody else will. And that’s the kind of judge that I want.”

Unbelievable … and many thanks to Columbia and Harvard for pushing this retard through the system.

progressoverpeace on November 19, 2008 at 1:20 PM

Unbelievable … and many thanks to Columbia and Harvard for pushing this retard through the system

Gotta keep that black quotient up….be affirmative

LimeyGeek on November 19, 2008 at 1:34 PM

It can’t be said too often: These people are clearly not totally ignorant. They are only ignorant about Obama. But they have actually been “informed” very well on subjects like Palin’s clothes. Three cheers for Ziegler & Zogby.

Owen Glendower on November 19, 2008 at 1:38 PM

Owen Glendower on November 19, 2008 at 1:38 PM

I think they advertise their own ignorance rather well….clearly none of them stopped to think about the content they were being spoonfed.

LimeyGeek on November 19, 2008 at 1:43 PM

Gotta keep that black quotient up….be affirmative

LimeyGeek on November 19, 2008 at 1:34 PM

Yep. All the way to the Presidency.

We are so screwed.

progressoverpeace on November 19, 2008 at 2:31 PM

You want ignorant? I was reading viewer reviews on Quantum of Solace and some tool was complaining that the U.S., Russia, and China are all evil because they were built by greedy capitalists.

There you go, and of course he was an Obama supporter.

Grafted on November 19, 2008 at 2:35 PM

I think they advertise their own ignorance rather well….clearly none of them stopped to think about the content they were being spoonfed.

LimeyGeek on November 19, 2008 at 1:43 PM

Amen, LimeyGeek, and they clearly do not get their political information from a broad variety of sources. But these people would probably say, “I do too! I watch all of the late-night talk shows!”

Owen Glendower on November 19, 2008 at 3:21 PM

they clearly do not get their political information from a broad variety of sources.

I’m sure the woman in the knock-off Burberry scarf listens to BBC and NPR broadcasts regularly. This was the answer that I expected from every Obama supporter who claimed Sarah Palin couldn’t (not wouldn’t) name a newspaper.

For the record, I hope she is more comfortable handling media engagements without the McCain campaign breathing down her neck. That question was insulting, but could have been batted off by someone who knew how to deal with the press.

chunderroad on November 19, 2008 at 3:50 PM

Expecting an Obama voter to be able to tell you which party controls Congress is blatantly unfair, full of built-in bias. Right.

I hope someone takes Ziegler up on his offer.

ddrintn on November 19, 2008 at 4:42 PM

Look, when the right loses they try and discredit the other side. In 1992 they lied and claimed Clinton only won because of Perot when exit polls consistently showed that Perot took votes from both Bush and Clinton in 1992 and that Perot took more votes from Clinton in 1996. And now they are trying to claim that Americans are “ignorant” for caring more about Obama’s healthcare/energy/tax policy than knowing the details of various right wing attacks.

DeathToMediaHacks on November 19, 2008 at 10:04 AM

Oh, give me a break. It’s the left that can never take responsibility for electoral defeats. It’s always the fault of “dirty tricks”, or cynical manipulation from evil geniuses like Lee Atwater or Karl Rove. Willie Horton defeated Dukakis. Swiftboating beat Kerry. And on and on. How many Republicans are now criticizing the campaign McCain ran?

ddrintn on November 19, 2008 at 5:03 PM

ex-Democrat: Atlas Shrugged, beside the Holy Bible should be required reading for every Republican who wants to know how he or she lost her country and how to take it back.

technopeasant on November 19, 2008 at 5:13 PM

Bobbertsan: That is a major failure of the McCain campaign for not debunking that myth immediately. When any ‘Hot Air’ contributor who I consider intelligent thinks that, you can see the resonance that comment of “I can see Russia from my house” (originated by Tina Fey on SNL) would have with the national electorate, especially the millions of idiots out there who were force-fed the idea that Sarah was ‘trailer trash’ stupid.

technopeasant on November 19, 2008 at 5:20 PM

My husband, a conservative (registered as a Demo) has a hard time with such poll/videos because he feels sorry for the ignorant. I don’t, it makes me angry. I also don’t agree that the media is more culpable than these tools. If I can inform myself without listening to the propaganda as truth, then why can’t they? (I know, it’s the Koolaid).

Christine on November 19, 2008 at 12:01 PM

I’m angry too at the breadth and depth of willful ignorance in our country. It doesn’t take much to inform oneself on the issues of the day, but we’ve become an intellectually lazy country. For all the talk about how hard-working we are–and many of us are–it seems there are just as many that want the easy way out. They don’t want to work too hard or think too hard or have anything asked of them that challenges their blissful ignorance.

We need to take back our country from this abject intellectual and moral apathy. Perhaps four years of Barry will lull the ignoramuses out of their sleepy haze. They won’t like what they see when they wake up.

redfoxbluestate on November 19, 2008 at 5:21 PM

Critical thinking skills are obsolete. I wrote about this yesterday because although the MSM certainly deserves it’s share of the blame. That does not excuse citizens for not researching their candidate. The information on Obama was out there….they just didn’t want to look for it. (or were too lazy to do so)

BiasedGirl on November 19, 2008 at 7:08 PM

OK. I gotta admit I thought Palin said the “Russia from my house” line, too. Obama supporters on blogs would claim that she said it, and nobody ever corrected them, so I thought it was true.

Maybe we needed a myth debunking page.

Bobbertsan on November 19, 2008 at 1:11 PM

Not only did she not say it but any fool knows that it is physically impossible to see Russia from Palin’s house. Only Obots believe this stuff.

Geochelone on November 19, 2008 at 7:28 PM

Thank you. I’m flattered.

tru2tx on November 19, 2008 at 11:59 AM

You’re welcome.

Jim Treacher on November 19, 2008 at 7:28 PM

I don’t even know where to begin. People this criminally stupid should never be permitted within 100 yards of a ballot box, ever. Because their vote cancels out the votes of people that actually took the time to educate themselves.

How can any liberal not know who Nancy Pelosi is? That just boggles my mind.

Scott on November 19, 2008 at 8:34 PM

You want ignorant? I was reading viewer reviews on Quantum of Solace and some tool was complaining that the U.S., Russia, and China are all evil because they were built by greedy capitalists.

There you go, and of course he was an Obama supporter.

Grafted on November 19, 2008 at 2:35 PM

And it seems like only yesterday lefties were proud of China and the Soviet Union for killing all of their “greedy capitalists”. I guess you could almost argue their rank ignorance is an improvement over the previous support for such tyranny.

18-1 on November 19, 2008 at 9:14 PM

Stupid people shouldn’t breed.

HornetSting on November 19, 2008 at 9:25 PM

Before the first 4 year term is up, I predict the U.S. as a whole will be up for the darwin award. It makes one lose hope for the future of the species. “Dumb” is a compliment for these people.

MikeA on November 19, 2008 at 9:32 PM

Ron Paul: Only one who understands ecoomics.

riverrat10k

Your credibility vanished with this statement. Romney is the guy that actually MADE money by running a business. He’s a self-made billionare for gosh sakes. He didn’t tax his way there. You are obviously unable to see through your tinfoil hat and were enamored by Alien Paul’s mystical charms. Enjoy your life on Venus.

cannonball on November 19, 2008 at 9:58 PM

My pastor’s father, who is in his eighties, called his son to discuss his concern about Sarah Palin. It wasn’t long into the conversation that my pastor realized that his father been watching Tina Fey’s act being played over and over and over again on the news networks and thinking it was really actually Sarah Palin. I wonder how many other senior adults thought the same thing?

fbcmusicman on November 20, 2008 at 10:51 AM

Stupid people shouldn’t breed.

HornetSting on November 19, 2008 at 9:25 PM

I was listening to Sally Quinn on Imus in the Morning, this morning and had a similar thought…she devalued the Presidency of the US., to a “Diversity Door Prize” when each minorities, including atheist, get to sit in the Leadership position of the Free World (The United States Presidency) then we will have attained ???? I don’t know Diversity Nirvana…I kept thinking in a Third World Country, I wouldn’t have to listen to CRAP like this equating the Presidency of the USA, to An award for the Affimative Action Movement. In a Third World Country “natural selection” would have taken care of tools like Sally Quinn.

The People in the Video, live in a 1st World Country. I honestly believe it is what keeps Natural Selection from doing what Nature dictates- The survivial of the fittest. Okay I know when Sally Quinn comes on I should just change the channel.

Dr Evil on November 20, 2008 at 10:57 AM

I don’t even know where to begin. People this criminally stupid should never be permitted within 100 yards of a ballot box, ever. Because their vote cancels out the votes of people that actually took the time to educate themselves.

How can any liberal not know who Nancy Pelosi is? That just boggles my mind.

Scott on November 19, 2008 at 8:34 PM

Did you see the c-span segment this morning on the quiz measuring this country’s civic literacy (or lack thereof)? Full details here:
http://www.americancivicliteracy.org/

One major finding: fewer than half of the people who took the quiz can name the three branches of our government.

I am assuming that some of the people who came up short on this question could only identify the executive and judicial branches of our government, and couldn’t name the legislative branch.

So I ask you this: When people like that go to the polls and vote for a senator or congressman…what are they voting for? What do they think these people on the ballot do? Can they even tell when they’re voting for a state legislator as opposed to a candidate for the U.S. Senate? Do they know the difference between a House seat and a Senate seat?

How can they, if they can’t say, “legislative, executive, judicial” when asked about the three branches of our government?

Owen Glendower on November 20, 2008 at 1:13 PM

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