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i am not a stuffed tiger.

through a lens darkly

Joshuah Bearman has a really good post about issue that's making me most queasy about the upcoming election: the media and their irresponsible interpretation of the campaign through polls. This quote from UCLA political science professor Lynn Vavreck about incentive incompatibility gives the whole thing a feeling of hopelessness:
... The candidates, the public, and the media all want different things. USA Today and CNN and Newsweek — their incentive is to sell magazines and newspapers. What voters want is information. And candidates want coverage. And those things often don’t line up. Civic journalism would be nice. But the media want to sell their products ... [josh bearman]
Not that I think this is a particularly "new" problem, but it's still unsettling. Being out of town and not particularly watching the news, my main impression of the election was that it was pretty much over. This, admittedly was through the lens of a friend with conservative leanings who was citing the latest, most damaging poll numbers and through a news cycle of hurricanes and questionable documents.

I guess that the only consolation is that it's in the media's interest to show the race tightening, because how else are they going to move product for the next month?

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speaking of polls: pollkatz

Comments

I am not taking any poll results too seriously until after the debates. I think Kerry is really going to shame Bush in the debates because Bush is so poor at improvisation and articulation.
yes, but Bush is very good at being certain about things that are patently false.

Kerry wouldn't want to go negative and call him a liar to his face, would he?
Dunno! I think a lot of people have been wary about supporting Kerry because he doesn't seem as definite and as forthright as Bush is.
I would love it if Kerry was more forthright and maybe even called Bush on his lies. I just doubt that Kerry would do it without a Kerryism.
Well lately Salon and Slate have been reporting that Kerry is taking a very harsh stance on Iraq.. much more so than ever before. Seems like he's probably getting a lot of feedback saying he's not being stern enough, so he's stepping it up. I'd expect to see him really go off in the debates where he can nail Bush to the wall and Bush can't run away and get advice from Karl Rove and then come back.
as i'm sure you know, any data can be manipulated depending on what you want it to say. but if you want to use polls for the basis of the election i'd say hit up http://www.electoral-vote.com/, it seems to be fairly even and inclusive of the most polls.
yeah, that's one of my favorites; since most of the national polls don't take the electoral college into account.