Abstract Musings

Documenting the random thoughts of a cluttered mind

More on the Polling Data

Rantingprofs links to a NY Times op-ed by ABC News’ director of polling, who opposed the inclusion of “moral values” in the exit polls.

Opinion researchers don’t always agree. The exit poll is written by a committee, and that committee voted down my argument against including “moral values” in the issues list. That happens - and the exit poll overall did deliver a wealth of invaluable data. The point is not to argue that moral values, however defined, are not important. They are, and they should be measured. The intersection of religiosity, ideology and politics is the staging ground for many of the most riveting social issues of our day.

The point, instead, is that this hot-button catch phrase had no place alongside defined political issues on the list of most important concerns in the 2004 vote. Its presence there created a deep distortion - one that threatens to misinform the political discourse for years to come.

The post on Rantingprofs also points out something I hadn’t considered: “Aside from the obvious (that ‘moral values’ could have meant Kerry’s values, as a characteristic of leadership) the interpretations also presumed that every voter was a single issue voter, but the poll never asked people if they voted only on the basis of the issue ‘most important to you.’”