Putting the “Etch a Sketch” episode in perspective

posted at 6:00 pm on March 27, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Gotta love polls like this one that put politicos in their place. No, the world does not revolve around politics:

new Pew Research Center poll shows that 55 percent of people were entirely unaware of the Etch a Sketch incident. Among the 44 percent who had heard about Fehrnstrom’s remark, 29 percent said it would have no effect on their feelings about Romney while 11 percent said it would make them less likely to support him and three percent said they were now more likely to back the former Massachusetts governor.

The numbers serve as a reminder — for the umpteenth time — that simply because 100 percent of people who do politics for a living (the Fix included) are closely following a story, it’s no guarantee that the story is penetrating nearly as broadly among the general public.

That’s true even for a story like this one that drew wall-to-wall media coverage for days as Democrats and Romney’s Republican rivals sought to capi­tal­ize on Fehrnstrom’s slip. Most people just have better things to do than follow every twist and turn of a presidential race.

The poll suggests Eric Fehrnstrom picked a good time to slip up. Primary fatigue has definitely set in: A sizable majority — 58 percent — said the process has gone on too long. Even larger majorities of independents (61 percent) and Republicans (64 percent) professed the primaries to be too lengthy.

Nevertheless, a majority of Republicans still say they find the primary interesting and, not surprisingly, Republicans were more aware of the “Etch a Sketch” incident than were Democrats or independents. Given that, as The Fix’s Chris Cillizza notes, these poll numbers could change — and the nickname “Etch a Sketch” might yet haunt Romney. For example, Democrats might use the line to devastating effect in their own campaign advertisements during the general election when more Democrats and independents are watching the race.

At least, I hope more of the nation will pay close attention to the general election. It’s easy to interpret this poll as a rebuke to the chattering classes, but there’s a lesson in it for everyone. Those of us who have the luxury to follow politics closely need to recognize that “who said what” on the campaign trail can and does take a back seat to “What’s for dinner?” in many households — but perhaps the Americans who profess themselves uninterested in politics also need to realize that “who says what” on the campaign trail can actually affect the answer to “What’s for dinner?” The connection might not be that direct, but taxes, health insurance premiums and energy costs all take money out of the food budget — and policy as determined by politicians has direct bearing on such things.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Ron Paul put it in perspective.

maverick muse on March 27, 2012 at 6:03 PM

“Etch a Sketch” News cycle

Oil Can on March 27, 2012 at 6:04 PM

The Reagan in Romney
Mitt’s tough conservative positions.
By Larry Kudlow, NRO
, 23 MAR ’12 (speaking for the “Repo Men”)
Bill Buckley’s “Electability” Law applies to Mitt Romney today. Because Bill Buckley said so, and so does Larry Kudlow. It worked with McCain’s ’08 ticket. Oops. “A conservative alternative to Romney is Romney.” Ah yes, the fallacy of circularity. For instance, the following “definition” of recursion. Recursion: See “Recursion”. Go Convoluted ’12! Circularity is winnable! Vote the monkey and the weasel.

maverick muse on March 27, 2012 at 6:04 PM

I bought an “Etch a Sketch” but it didn’t have a touch screen so I couldn’t figure out how to work it.

—Lib

SparkPlug on March 27, 2012 at 6:06 PM

WaPo once again showing their sheer terror of Mitt Romney!!!!!!!!

ddrintn on March 27, 2012 at 6:06 PM

“Etch-a-Sketch, magic underpants, where does it end?!?!”

/TruCons

John the Libertarian on March 27, 2012 at 6:07 PM

For example, Democrats might use the line to devastating effect in their own campaign advertisements during the general election when more Democrats and independents are watching the race.

And if the RNC does not forcefully answer any such tactic with BHO’s own “Etch a Sketch” episode with Medvedev, then they are fools.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on March 27, 2012 at 6:08 PM

…Democrats might use the line to devastating effect in their own campaign advertisements during the general election when more Democrats and independents are watching the race.

At their own peril. Mr. Obama is particularly susceptible to the same line of attacks, especially with independents. From keeping their insurance if they like, closing gitmo, gas prices under Bush, etc. I’d have fun with that ad, so much material…

gaius on March 27, 2012 at 6:09 PM

And if the RNC does not forcefully answer any such tactic with BHO’s own “Etch a Sketch” episode with Medvedev, then they are fools.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on March 27, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Yeah, they need to stick up for Romney just like they did Palin. Er, on second thought…

ddrintn on March 27, 2012 at 6:10 PM

But according to Charles, “I need to step away from discussing the candidates” Krauthammer, the etch a sketch thing was going to be huge. Just huge.

BettyRuth on March 27, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Trayvon is the new Etch-A-Sketch for libradicals.

profitsbeard on March 27, 2012 at 6:15 PM

For example, Democrats might use the line to devastating effect in their own campaign

Good luck calling him an etch-a-sketch and a far-right extremist at the same time. Not that they won’t try, but they’ll fail miserably.

Go RBNY on March 27, 2012 at 6:15 PM

But according to Charles, “I need to step away from discussing the candidates” Krauthammer, the etch a sketch thing was going to be huge. Just huge.

BettyRuth on March 27, 2012 at 6:14 PM

According to Allah, Jimmy Carter’s endorsement of Romney was going to be a “gamechanger”.

Go RBNY on March 27, 2012 at 6:18 PM

My brain is becoming Sketched with Etch O Sketch!
(sarc0

canopfor on March 27, 2012 at 6:20 PM

>but perhaps the Americans who profess themselves uninterested in politics also need to realize…

Don’t those stupid morons know we have to keep this etcha sketch thing going cuz this is an etcha sketch economy or something and they’ll get a better dinner if they buy an etcha sketch or someting. Yawn. Got it, people who don’t pay attention to politicians waving etcha sketches are morons.

rhombus on March 27, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Primary fatigue has definitely set in: A sizable majority — 58 percent — said the process has gone on too long.
=================================================

Yup,the GOP Primary 1000 Yard Stare!!

canopfor on March 27, 2012 at 6:22 PM

O/T Zimmerman a registered Dem. So let’s see, he’s a minority, was actually attached by Saint Trevon, and he’s a registered Dem.

Any odds on when the media abandon this story now that the narrative they injected is falling apart? Or do they dig in?

Minnfidel on March 27, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Attacked, Darn touchpad!

Minnfidel on March 27, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Mitt Romney 2002:

“I think people recognize that I am not a partisan Republican. That I’m someone who is moderate, and that my views are progressive.”

Shake that Etch-A-Sketch!!!!

Mitt Romney 2012:

I was a Severely Conservative Governor

Ronald Reagan warned us about socialized medicine.

Mitt Romney birthed state-run socialized medicine.

Mitt Romney was a moderate, to “progressive” Governor.

You can’t describe one candidate as both “progressive” and “severely conservative“…

… unless you use an Etch-A-Sketch!

ITguy on March 27, 2012 at 6:26 PM

Last I heard well under 5% of the population ever visits a political blog.

I would go so far as to say that if you got outside of the major metro cities, even fewer than 44% heard about it. Probably closer to under 10%.

crosspatch on March 27, 2012 at 6:26 PM

Since using an Etch-a-Sketch requires some real thought and creativity, it leaves most liberal politicians out of the loop.

mike0993 on March 27, 2012 at 6:26 PM

“The numbers serve as a reminder — for the umpteenth time — that simply because 100 percent of people who do politics for a living (the Fix included) are closely following a story, it’s no guarantee that the story is penetrating nearly as broadly among the general public.”

Yup. Folks in an echo chamber often tend to get all worked up – but fail to realize it’s just the return sound of their own voices that’s getting them all wee-wwed up.

whatcat on March 27, 2012 at 6:30 PM

O/T Zimmerman a registered Dem. So let’s see, he’s a minority, was actually attached by Saint Trevon, and he’s a registered Dem.

Any odds on when the media abandon this story now that the narrative they injected is falling apart? Or do they dig in?

Minnfidel on March 27, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Minnfidel:Yup,MSM Narrative,ahem,shot to h*ll,heres multiple
linkys!
====================

Trayvon Martin shooting
***********************

http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/trayvon-martin-shooting

canopfor on March 27, 2012 at 6:36 PM

Anyone that Rs run will have an uphill battle against barry…but really maybe people should actually get behind R candidates rather than attack for attack sake.

Now I grant that R candidates (Rs in general) are not the brightest characters, but imagine my surprise in reading about the 1905 scotus case wrt MA health care mandate…yes 1905.

MA decided to mandate vaccinations for its citizens. And there was a $5 PENALTY if you did NOT comply.

SCOTUS ruling? Yes, that is constitutional. So yes RomneyCare is Constitutional…and irrelevant to barry.care.

I am clueless why Romney does not school people on the Constitution and SCOTUS rulings from 1905…really people, we need to up our game and not fall for the latest lame brain attack ad

r keller on March 27, 2012 at 6:38 PM

“The numbers serve as a reminder — for the umpteenth time — that simply because 100 percent of people who do politics for a living (the Fix included) are closely following a story, it’s no guarantee that the story is penetrating nearly as broadly among the general public.”

Yup. Folks in an echo chamber often tend to get all worked up – but fail to realize it’s just the return sound of their own voices that’s getting them all wee-wwed up.

whatcat on March 27, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Well said. Those of us who are self proclaimed political junkies need to remember this.

BettyRuth on March 27, 2012 at 6:39 PM

It’s Romney…Let’s get busy taking the fight to Obama and the American people will see what the new etch a sketch looks like…In my mind, Fehrnstrom was referring to a shift in tactics, not changes in policy. I think Americans will be impressed with Romney the nominee once this primary season is put to bed. And, I believe the affirmative action President is dreading being put up against a smart successful strong American CEO. He got the tired old War hero last time. It’s a new ballgame now!

Nozzle on March 27, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Democrats might use the line to devastating effect in their own campaign advertisements during the general election when more Democrats and independents are watching the race.

At their own peril. Mr. Obama is particularly susceptible to the same line of attacks, especially with independents. From keeping their insurance if they like, closing gitmo, gas prices under Bush, etc. I’d have fun with that ad, so much material…

gaius on March 27, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Exactly. And the same argument can be made about Romneycare.

Syzygy on March 27, 2012 at 6:47 PM

Meanwhile we have President Ochasketch making deals with Vlad.

Swerve22 on March 27, 2012 at 7:13 PM

cartoon
http://www.newyorker.com/humor/issuecartoons/2012/04/02/cartoons_20120326#slide=16.

Urban Infidel on March 27, 2012 at 6:58 PM

Urban Infidel:Cute,haha,thanks for sharing!:)

canopfor on March 27, 2012 at 7:18 PM

Uhm …

The “Etch-A-Sketch” fiasco will be brought into focus for all by Obama in the General election.

Willard need not think he dodged a bullet on this one – he hasn’t.

But it will be funny to watch his surprised ass get bashed with it during a debate! LOL Willard.

Silly GOP – way to SUCK!!

HondaV65 on March 27, 2012 at 7:18 PM

“Etch-a-Sketch, magic underpants, where does it end?!?!”

/TruCons

John the Libertarian on March 27, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Silly Putty and Slinky I suppose.

SparkPlug on March 27, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Urban Infidel on March 27, 2012 at 6:58 PM

If you like Etch-a-Sketch cartoons, try here. Just keep hitting next, you’ll get to plenty.

Bmore on March 27, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Here, I’ll save you a few clicks.

Bmore on March 27, 2012 at 7:26 PM

Here, I’ll save you a few clicks.

Bmore on March 27, 2012 at 7:26 PM

Bmore:Very nice,thanks!:)

canopfor on March 27, 2012 at 7:41 PM

Silly Putty and Slinky I suppose.

SparkPlug on March 27, 2012 at 7:22 PM

SparkPlug: Magic 8 Ball/Ouija Board!:)

canopfor on March 27, 2012 at 7:43 PM

Bmore:Very nice,thanks!:)

canopfor on March 27, 2012 at 7:41 PM

canopfor, as much trouble as you go to giving me a heads up during threads, my pleasure, anytime. ; )

Bmore on March 27, 2012 at 7:43 PM

A new Pew Research Center poll shows that 55 percent of people were entirely unaware of the Etch a Sketch incident.

I wonder what the percentage would be of people who know who won the most recent American Idol or Dancing With The Dweebs. What an ignorant public we have in this country. No wonder socialism-creep has been so strong in the country for so long.

Bitter Clinger on March 27, 2012 at 7:47 PM

…opens door*****peeks in****wrong thread!( Thought that picture was a copy of JugEars Diploma) Mistaken! …*backs head back out***closes door.

KOOLAID2 on March 27, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Here’s a toy Republicans should buy and use for effect to crack on Obama:

“After my election…”

OxyCon on March 27, 2012 at 9:20 PM

The Etch a Sketch remark was harmless.

Most people were not paying attention, but those that were probably also noticed Rick Santorum’s over-the top reaction, saying that there was no point in voting for Romney over Obama. And if you pay attention to politics, you likely decided that both remarks were being seized on and made more than they were.

And in the long run Obama is going to attack Romney as “severely conservative” for sure, so the Etch a Sketch line is only going to get a light workout.

It’s only something an aide said anyway. If you really want to hurt Romney’s credibility, you run film of the candidate himself talking.

David Blue on March 28, 2012 at 2:47 AM

I am clueless why Romney does not school people on the Constitution and SCOTUS rulings from 1905…really people, we need to up our game and not fall for the latest lame brain attack ad

r keller on March 27, 2012 at 6:38 PM

Are you suggesting that, if we take RomneyCare off the table, conservatives should flock to Mitt as if that’s the only reason he sucks as a candidate?

swinia sutki on March 28, 2012 at 6:40 AM

I wonder what the percentage would be of people who know who won the most recent American Idol or Dancing With The Dweebs. What an ignorant public we have in this country. No wonder socialism-creep has been so strong in the country for so long.

Bitter Clinger on March 27, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Sorry you’re just upset that the harmless “Etch” comment resulted in next-to-no-harm at all, except to those clownish candidates like Rick Santorum who overreacted to it and acted like it was a game changing moment.

Voters know that the issues are jobs, the economy, national debt, etc. and they don’t want to hand the election to Obama by nominating an unelectable clown like Rick Santorum, who would make the election all about social issues and his desire to impose his morality on everyone else.

bluegill on March 28, 2012 at 7:23 AM

The only thing that keeps this oddity hanging around is that the media is always looking for something to call a gaffe, and that Santorum has been reduced to making claims that Romney is an undercover Democrat, which is really an absurd belief.

flataffect on March 28, 2012 at 12:07 PM