Battle Of The Online Poll Stuffers

“Internet Polls: Few things are easier than influencing the results of an internet poll. All it would take to send tens of thousands of people to a local church website to write in Satan as a choice for a new pastor would be posts on a handful of large message boards and websites. In fact, this has been done so often by the folks over at Free Republic that the word “freep” has come to mean deliberately skewing a poll. Not to say that online polls aren’t entertaining, they can be, as long as you don’t confuse them with some sort of accurate reflection of the public’s feelings on a subject.” — John Hawkins, “Get Your Antennae Up“.

If you ever needed a perfect example of how utterly and completely worthless online polls are, the debates are providing it for you.

Before the Kerry / Bush debate, the DNC sent out an email. Here are some of the details…

“In an effort to manage the message, Democrats bombarded media websites with post-debate spin immediately following Thursday’s Bush-Kerry face-off in Florida – and it appears to have paid off.

In a survey of non-scientific online polls done by ten major media sites, Sen. John Kerry was running about 20 points better than in traditional, scientific polls. Though Kerry was solidly ahead in three traditional polls as well, in the online polls he was a landslide winner.

In an email prior to the debate, Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe urged the party faithful to “vote in online polls” as soon as the debate ended.

The email also urged Democrats to write to local newspapers and call radio talk shows. Major media website addresses were given. Democrats were implored to forward the message to “at least” ten other people.

Republicans, the McAuliffe email read, “stole the post-debate spin” in 2000, and “we are not going to let that happen again.”

…(To) insure that voters “understood” Kerry won the debate, Kelly directed what he called a “comprehensive online multimedia strategy.” Friday morning, major media websites were strewn with banner ads linking to the DNC homepage. The McAuliffe email, sent twice Thursday to 5 million users, contributed to the DNC raising a “single-day record” of $3.8 million. During the debate alone, the DNC raised $1 million. Though quick to credit Kerry, Kelly believes the urgent tone of the email had a tangible effect.”

Personally, I thought that was completely lame. Here we have a presidential debate going on which is going to help determine who the leader of the free world is for the next four years and you have one side encouraging their people to stuff the polls.

Most people — but not all — seemed to give Kerry the edge after the debate, but not by much. But if you look at some of these online polls, Kerry won by a landslide….

“The Chicago Tribune’s online poll, for example, gave Kerry a 68-31 percent edge, while Newsday.com had Kerry ahead by 83-16 percent. Similar results were found in the Tampa Tribune online poll (74-23 percent in favor of Kerry) and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Kerry the winner by 83-7 percent). The Denver Post online poll had Kerry winning 74-21 percent…”

None of this would matter, except the PERCEPTION that the Democrats managed gin up by rigging these online polls appeared to have helped Kerry make gains in at least Some of the REAL POLLS.

Furthermore, most — but not all — of the mainstream media seemed to treat the rigging of their polls as just a cute little media strategy. But don’t be surprised if that attitude changes, because the Republicans are getting into the game now.

Here’s an email from Ken Mehlman, the Bush campaign manager that’s going around…

After last week’s debate, the Kerry campaign spin machine managed to
mask their candidate’s flip-flops on the war in Iraq, imposition of a
“global test” for protecting America, and repeated denigration of our
troops and allies.

If we plan to win the election, we must fight back against their spin
and make sure our friends and neighbors get the truth.

We need your help tonight!

* Visit
www.GeorgeWBush.com/DebateFacts tonight during the debate so you will
have the facts. Print and share them with your friends.=20

* Immediately after the debate, visit online
polls, chat rooms, and discussion boards and make your voice heard. The
major news networks will all have internet polls after the debate. Make
sure you vote in polls on:

MSNBC.com

FoxNews.com

ABCNews.com

CNN.com

CBS

* Make sure swing state voters know why you support the President by sharing your thoughts on message boards in target states

* Call Talk Radio shows in your area

* Write letters to the editors of your local papers

* Visit Chat rooms on AOL, MSN, and Yahoo.

* Send this message to 5 friends using the form at the bottom of this page.

Beyond tonight, you should return to these forums in the coming days and
make your voice heard and your support for the President known.”

Now, I think that both parties should be chastised for getting into the online poll rigging business.

However, the MSM also shouldn’t be giving them the opportunity to do this. Come on, how much sense does it make to put easily manipulated online polls that have absolutely no scientific validity up on these MSM websites when they apparently can even influence the outcome of a presidential election?

It doesn’t make sense and it’s time for the MSM to get rid of these online polls once and for all…

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