Whatever one thinks of Dick Morris, he is an expert on the uses and abuses of polls. Here, he exposes the latest New York TImes poll about Iraq and the public’s concern over the economy as a “push” poll. As Morris explains, push polling is the use of polls “to generate a predetermined result, and so to vindicate a specific point of view.” Politicians sometimes use this technique, but clearly jounalists never should. However, if taken seriously by politicians, the poll could backfire by causing Democrats to over-estimate the value of talking about the economy. Morris claims that similar polling led the Democrats astray during the summer when they lost ground by criticising President Bush’s policy on Iraq. So, if Morris is correct, in deliberately misleading the public, the Times risks misleading its Democratic allies as well.
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