Wednesday, June 18, 2003
Associated Press Spinning For Kerry http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2003/06/18/national1201EDT0594.DTL
Presidential candidate Kerry opens 10-point lead in New HampshireTwo points here -- one small, one huge:
Wednesday, June 18, 2003
09:01 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) -- Presidential candidate John Kerry has opened a 10-point lead over rival Howard Dean in a poll of likely voters in New Hampshire's Democratic primary, according to a survey released Wednesday. Once statistically tied for the lead, Kerry has moved ahead with 28 percent while Dean has lost ground and stands at 18 percent, the American Research Group poll found. The advantage for the Massachusetts senator is the largest since Kerry held a 12-point lead over Dean in January, a gap that closed during the spring.
1) It's important to note that an 18-point lead among registered Democrats in NH is about as useful as an 18-point lead among people with blonde hair. The very same poll shows (as the AP article reports in the third paragraph) Dean leads Kerry among independents 26 to 15 – those are the voters who will decide not only the New Hampshire primary but the general election as well.
2) More importantly, this poll is not news. This new June poll shows Kerry with a 28 to 18 lead over Dean. But the May poll by the same firm, the American Research Group, had Kerry with a 26 to 19 lead over Dean. In other words, the change between May and June was within the margin of error (4 points in each direction). This headline about Kerry “opening up” any lead is false and misleading. One can only draw that conclusion by comparing numbers across polls, which is generally a bad idea, while simultaneously ignoring the American Research Group from last month, which is downright dishonest.
Again: there was no statistical change between this new poll and last month’s poll. But perhaps the AP isn’t entirely to blame. AMG, in its press release announcing its results, claims that Kerry has “regained sole front-runner status” while in fact its own numbers report – contrary to the result of virtually every other poll taken in the last few months – that Kerry has had a huge lead all long.
Keep your eyes peeled for this story appearing in your local papers. Ready your pens and keyboards because this story is factually incorrect, and you can be damned sure they are going to hear from us about it.
For starters, you can contact the Associated Press and demand that they retract this story and issue a correction:
General/National Desk (phone): 212-621-1600
Or contact the San Francisco chronicle, on whose site this story appeared:
Fax: (415) 543-7708
This story cannot be allowed to seep into the conventional-wisdom ether. Be sure and send any reprints or mentions of this poll to the Dean Defense Forces at email@example.com.
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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.