Nearly a week after the first televised Democratic Party debate, CNN has finally released a new poll showing the effect of the candidate performances on potential voters. And while there has been much discussion about the overwhelming discrepancies between online polling data, which showed Bernie Sanders as the clear favorite among people that watched the debate, and the results of standard polls, what we know now is that Hillary Clinton was indeed chosen as the clear winner of the debate…by people who didn’t actually watch the debate.
According to the random national poll released today by CNN, Hillary still holds a commanding 20-point-plus lead over Sanders amongst potential Democratic primary voters (56% to 33%). The CNN polling questions reflect an overall impression that Sanders, who gained much-needed visibility, saw a slight increase in almost every category, while Hillary remained uninspiring with her “likeability” score still mired below 50%.
But looking past the first few pages of the CNN results document shows that the poll itself is no more scientific or accurate than all of the online polls which were discounted by the mainstream media as biased or selective.
Of the 1,028 Americans contacted by phone after the debate to respond to the CNN poll questions, only 31% of respondents actually watched the debate, with another 31% saying that they neither watched the debate or hadn’t seen any coverage of it either.
In addition, almost two-thirds of those contacted to take the poll were reached via a landline, which is an even more narrow a demographic skew than those who vote for polls online.
Sadly, these numbers only point to the truth that Hillary Clinton is the overwhelming choice of older uninformed voters. But the larger issue is that political pundits and their media overlords will continue to decry “new media” and any polling not done by calling people on their house phone between 7pm and 8pm, as somehow less valid than a digital poll.
All polling has a margin of error for a reason. But at some point the larger question must be asked…is CNN calling 1,000 people at home who mostly ignored the debate, an accurate way to find out who 200 million potential voters thought won the debate? And is the polling process even more selective and corrupt than the political process?
James Woods ( AKA – JamesFromTheInternet) is an independent journalist based in New York City who can be reached on twitter @JamesFTInternet or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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