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Stupid Polling Tricks: Katrina Edition

It's so much easier when you know the answer you want.

Charlie Martin


August 22, 2013 - 7:10 am

Here’s today’s “ZOMG those stupid Republicans” story at Talking Points Memo (repeated of course at Huffington Post and by any number of querulous and gullible people on Facebook:

A significant chunk of Louisiana Republicans evidently believe that President Barack Obama is to blame for the poor response to the hurricane that ravaged their state more than three years before he took office.

The latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, provided exclusively to TPM, showed an eye-popping divide among Republicans in the Bayou State when it comes to accountability for the government’s post-Katrina blunders.

Twenty-eight percent said they think former President George W. Bush, who was in office at the time, was more responsible for the poor federal response while 29 percent said Obama, who was still a freshman U.S. Senator when the storm battered the Gulf Coast in 2005, was more responsible. Nearly half of Louisiana Republicans — 44 percent — said they aren’t sure who to blame.

Have a look at the poll. The question was “Who do you think was more responsible for the poor response to Hurricane Katrina: George W.Bush or Barack Obama?” The choices given were Obama, Bush, and don’t know. It’s the only question other than preference in the primary in a questionnaire given to Republican primary voters. Now, it doesn’t include either Kathleen Blanco, who lost her job after the states response sucked, it doesn’t include the crooked former mayor Ray Nagin, and it doesn’t make any sort of distinction about the time, so it could be read as the total response — and a little googling reveals that (1) there are still regular stories about the Federal governments weaknesses now and (2) that Obama has been President for almost five years now.

In other words, it was a poll question either completely incompetently phrased or carefully crafted to make sure they got exactly the story that people are falling for today.

Charlie Martin writes on science, health, culture and technology for PJ Media. Follow his 13 week diet and exercise experiment on Facebook and at PJ Lifestyle

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All Comments   (5)
All Comments   (5)
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Its indeed a stupidly constructed poll, and I'd have picked Obama as well.

Because the problem with Katrina was corrupt local government.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Of course they haven't done the same poll in NY/NJ/Ct regarding the poor gov't response to super storm Sandy. Other than a bromance between Christy and Obama for the cameras, there has been pretty much no response.

There are people still living in tents 9 months after the storm. At least Katrina victims had trailers to live in. With running water and heat.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Of course 44% said not sure...because "neither" is the objectively CORRECT answer and it wasn't given as an option!
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Hayride (Louisiana political website) had an excellent takedown of PPP for this.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not to mention, Louisiana wasn't devastated by Katrina. Not compared to Mississippi. Granted a small portion of LA in the SE corner did take a beating. However, New Orleans was devastated by decades of corruption and incompetence in levee building and flood control. All we can say is Katrina exposed rather than devastated.

There were poor responses from the federal government. Most way down by panicked bureaucrats who hurried off to their Labor Day holiday while people were still digging out and returned to discover you just can't brush off the citizen until after your 4-day weekend at the Eastern shore.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
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