Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Most of the questions asked in the official exit poll for the New Hampshire primary today are routine: Are you liberal or conservative, black or white, male or female, and, by the way, how did you vote?
But then out of nowhere comes this sucker punch: "Regardless of how you voted today, do you think Howard Dean has the temperament to serve effectively as president?" No other questions about specific candidates were asked.
Reading from an official statement, a harried spokesperson for the National Election Pool, a consortium of ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox and the AP that administered the poll, told Campaign Desk: "Dean's temperament has been much discussed throughout the campaign. He fell from a significant lead in New Hampshire. Did questions about his temperament after the Iowa speech contribute to that? The exit poll would be remiss if it didn't try to find out."
The spokeswoman stressed that because this was an exit poll, it wouldn't affect New Hampshire's results. She's wrong; the very existence of the question, first reported this afternoon by Howard Kurtz at WashingtonPost.com, could well sway late voters.
More important, what about South Carolinians, Missourians, Arizonans, and all the rest who have yet to vote? Even if few startled New Hampshire voters answer "no" to that loaded question, it seems certain to make news -- and to supply ammunition to Dean opponents.
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Obama 2008 - I want my country back
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.