Friday, September 10, 2004

Skewed poll questions helped shape American bias against Saddam

When the polls reported that Americans tended to connect Saddam with 9/11, the polls were wrong. It was a case in which the nature of the questions gave a skewed result.
"It appears that rather than becoming duped, as the popular account has it, the American public has gradually grown more critical of the idea that Hussein had a hand in 9/11,'' the researchers wrote. ''Rather than showing a gullible public blindly accepting the rationales offered by an administration bent on war, our analysis reveals a self-correcting public that has grown ever more doubtful of Hussein's culpability since the 9/11 attacks."
That helped the Bush administration play to that erroneous concept by giving the appearance that more people were with them than actually were. And this restores my hope that Americans can see through the smoke and mirrors better than it appeared at first.

It is also a cautionary tale for the pollsters of today. To the degree they want the actual truth, they need to be very careful how they ask their questions. And it gives support to poll critics who have reason to question poll results.

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