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In Defense of PJTV’s Tea Party Tracking Poll

PJTV's Vik Rubenfeld takes on a HuffPoster's critique of the latest Tea Party Tracking Poll, which shows solid support for the Tea Party among Black voters.

by
Vik Rubenfeld

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September 28, 2010 - 12:18 pm
Last Saturday, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, writing at the Huffington Post, seriously critiqued a PJTV/Pulse Opinion Research Poll showing surprising support of the Tea Party movement by African-American likely voters. That poll reported that 35% of Black Likely Voters Strongly or Somewhat support the Tea Party movement, and that 32% of Black Likely Voters are Somewhat or Very Likely to vote for a candidate for Congress who is supported by the Tea Party movement. This explodes the view that the Tea Party movement is supported by White Americans only. (The PJTV video is here; the PJ Media article is here.) On Saturday, the Huffington Post published a critique of these results, by Earl Ofari Hutchinson. Here’s my response to Mr. Hutchinson’s observations.

Mr. Hutchinson writes that the poll:

…purportedly found that more than one out of three African-Americans supports the Tea Party. And even more incredibly back the movement strongly.

To correct any misimpression on Mr. Hutchinson’s part, the findings were that 35% of Black Likely Voters support the Tea Party movement Strongly or Somewhat, including 17% who support the Tea Party movement Strongly.

Even more incredibly still, the poll claims that almost forty percent privately say they like the Tea Party.

The poll found that 38% of those who support the Tea Party movement say they do so privately only, while 34% report that they do so publicly.

The poll can be hacked to pieces from just about any angle. It’s too small. There were only 543 “likely voters” who are African-American in the poll.

To be clear, 543 respondents provides an error margin of +/- 4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, as noted in the PJTV and PJ Media reports on these results.

The methodology: What were they asked? How were they asked it? And who asked it? PJTV doesn’t say.

In fact, PJTV does say, and always has. The full text of the questions is on the site, as well as the methodology, and has been since the Tea Party Tracking Poll launched last August. Both are available on the PJTV Tea Party Tracking Poll page, available through the main menu on the PJTV home page, at this link.  PJTV is transparent on both the poll’s questions and methodology.  Hutchinson just doesn’t have the facts here.

The bias, PJTV is a hard line right wing echo chamber.

This is an ad hominem; in other words, it casts aspersions on those with the opposing view, rather than providing facts to counter that view.

The pool of alleged respondents it chose to make the case that there are untold thousands of blacks that reject President Obama’s policies and person is deeply suspect coming out the gate. … No reputable political analyst or observer who’s even a step removed from comatose would give any credence to it.

More ad hominem attacks, no substance. For Mr. Hutchinson’s information, the interviews were conducted by Pulse Opinion Research using methodology licensed from Rasmussen, one of the nation’s pre-eminent polling organizations, as noted on the PJTV Tea Party Tracking Poll page (same link as above).

In the November mid-terms, black voters will back Democrats by the same crushing margin they always have.

This is hypothetical on Mr. Hutchinson’s part and remains to be seen. It’s of course possible that he’ll turn out to be right.  It’s also possible that the brilliant Black speakers at this past weekend’s Tea Party Rally in Beverly Hills, including Star Parker, Rev. Wayne Perryman, Rev. Jessie Lee Peterson, and Alfonzo Rachel, may have an impact that leads to a different outcome than the one Mr. Hutchinson expects.

Vik Rubenfeld is a 20-year veteran of the polling and market research industry and founder of Rubenfeld Research Associates.
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