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Monday, June 22, 2009
Who Is WND's New Pollster?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Alex Koppleman at Salon delves into the WorldNetDaily poll asserting that Americans "are not only aware of questions about Barack Obama's constitutional eligibility for office, but almmost half are either 'troubled' by the questions or believe he should release all relevant documents including his long-form birth certificate." Koppleman notes:

Getting a result that favored WND's position on the issue of whether Obama should release a long-form birth certificate (despite the fact that he's already released a copy of his birth certificate and Hawaiian officials have said he was born there) involved a little sleight of hand.

The result trumpeted by WND is that 41.5 percent of respondents said "Obama should release all records, including long-form birth certificate," essentially the "yes" answer WND was looking for. An additional 7.8 percent said they "are troubled by these questions," which the site has been lumping in with the yes answer. The "no" answer, though, they split up into five different responses -- "I am not concerned," "questions not valid," "Obama has met requirements," "Obama has answered all questions" and "requirements outdated -- should be ignored."

It's a neat trick, and a fairly common one; by doing that, you can avoid providing a real reflection of the size of your opposition. In this case, the total of those five answers adds up to a majority of respondents, 50.6 percent.

It's also worth noting that WND's pollster, Wenzel Strategies, appears to have a bit of a bias.WND quotes company chief Fritz Wenzel as saying, "Our polling shows that the questions surrounding Barack Obama's eligibility to serve as president clearly strike a nerve across America, probably because it is a problem that everybody understands. Every American citizen has a birth certificate, and once in a while we all have to produce them to get a drivers license or gain entrance to school .... And while Obama did get in to the White House, nearly half the country's adults -- 49 percent -- are troubled by this issue and still want him to produce his official long-form birth certificate." Such a statement furthers Koppelman's suggestion that Wenzel, like Zogby, likes to adjust questions to get the answers their clients are seeking.

There's more evidence of Wenzel's bias. He is a former political columnist for the Toledo Blade who quit his job to work as a paid media consultant for Ohio Republican congresswoman Jean Schmidt; he was accused of working for Schmidt while still at the Blade, a clear conflict of interest (not that WND thinks there's anything wrong with that). Some have also accused Wenzel of keeping quiet on evidence of alleged financial misdeeds involving involving Tom Noe, a Republican activist in Ohio with whom Wenzel had a personal relationship. The Blade eventually did break the story of Noe's investment of $50 million in state money in coin speculation and how he could not account for a significant portion of that money (speculated to have been laundered into political donations to Republicans, including the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign), though without Wenzel's help.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:13 AM EDT

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