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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Poll Questions: Insinuating Conclusions Without Really Asking

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 08/13/08 20:15, Edited: 08/13/08 20:15

by Dave Mindeman

I have no doubt that a majority of Americans would be willing to allow drilling in the OCS if it reduced the price of gas. Republicans have worked long and hard to correlate drilling to prices, even if it is a dubious connection.

But the polling on this issue has some questionable methods. Rassmussen released a poll that asked this question:

Congress is currently on a recess. Some people believe Members of Congress should return to Washington immediately and vote on whether or not to allow offshore oil drilling. Should Members of Congress return to Washington immediately and vote on this issue?

61% Yes
30% No
10% Not sure

I highlighted the middle part of the question because I question why that part is there. "Some people believe"...some people? I guess that must refer to the publicity hounds occupying the floor of the House of Representatives. Notice it also does not ask the person being questioned as to what their preference would be -- For or Against Drilling. Only their opinion on whether or not Congress should vote.

Question #2:
How likely is it that Congress will adjourn for the year without allowing offshore oil drilling?


42% Very likely
29% Somewhat likely
13% Not very likely
3% Not at all likely
14% Not sure

Again, just asking about a vote allowing drilling -- not about preferences. So far we have a majority that want a vote on drilling, but don't believe that any vote will happen this year.

Question #3:
Generally speaking, do Democrats in Congress favor or oppose offshore oil drilling?


13% Favor
61% Oppose
26% Not sure

So they are still not asking how the person being questioned personally feels about drilling -- but their opinion about they think the Democrats feel about it.

Question 4:
Okay? do Republicans in Congress favor or oppose offshore oil drilling?


67% Favor
9% Oppose
24% Not sure

Now, we know how Americans feel about how Republicans feel.

Final Question:
In terms of how you will vote for Congress this year, how important is the issue of offshore oil drilling?

45% Very important
32% Somewhat important
17% Not very important
4% Not at all important
3% Not sure

So, in the end, we have a poll that tells us that offshore drilling is an important issue, that Democrats are generally against it, Republicans are generally for it, that they want a vote to happen, but don't believe it will.

It is a poll that doesn't really say anything -- but insinuates volumes.

comments (0) permalink

It's Simple: To Defeat Coleman, Support Franken

Category: Al Franken
Posted: 08/13/08 14:56

by Dave Mindeman

As I watch the Minnesota US Senate race, I sometimes have to shake my head in disbelief at the Democrats in this state. I have plenty of experience in watching the continuous pushing of the self-destruct button, but the reasons for the implosions become more and more incomprehensible each time.

Democrats, Let's Talk.

OK, first things first. What exactly is it about Al Franken that bothers you? I have a hard time believing that it is policy. Franken is much more in line with current progressive thinking than Amy Klobuchar ever was. He supports unions. He is strong on the environment. He will be a solid "out of Iraq" vote. He will support progressive choices for the Supreme Court. And despite the language flap, you will not find a stronger supporter of critical women's issues than Al Franken. And a Franken win gets the Democrats that much closer to the legislative "prime" number of 60.

So, let's assume it's not policy.

Franken's Past Writings?

Every election cycle, Democrats seem to buy into the Republican attacks as if they have some real validity. Why? The GOP is always so devoid of issue arguments that they throw out all manner of attacks on personality or current profession, hoping something sticks. With Ciresi -- it would have been "ambulance chasing" lawyers. With Nelson-Pallmeyer -- it would have been he's a "60's peacenik, won't support the troops". And Lord Faris... well she has already succumbed to Republican talking points to the degree that she repeats them.

Franken has not been a wallflower in his previous life. He has been an "in your face" type comedian as well as in the media. Haven't Democrats been looking for something like that? Somebody who will challenge the Republicans rather than apologize for a contrary position?

Sure, Franken may have some trouble making inroads into rural Minnesota. But, in reality, what Democrat doesn't have that problem? For gosh sakes, tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may. Don't pull a Norm and pretend to be something you are not. Rural Minnesotans can see through that as well as anyone else.

Barkley As An Alternative?

Some disaffected Democrats feel that Barkley can appeal as an alternative to their discomfort with Franken. They contend he speaks to their "values" better than Franken. But what does Barkley have to offer that Franken wouldn't be a stronger vote for?

In 2002, when Barkley made his way to Washington he appeared on the CNN Crossfire program. Here is an exchange excerpt:

NOVAK: Do you favor, as a general rule, an option for younger people, if they want to, to invest some of the money they pay for Social Security in a personal account that would be theirs?

BARKLEY: Yes.


Sounds like Barkley favors privatization of Social Security.

Barkley was a key vote in passing the 2002 Homeland Security Bill. Getting a private lobbying audience with W to secure his vote.

Barkley is more gimmick than policy. Looking for attention with Brett Favre lawn signs and a cutesy "playing the cheese card" quote on Almanac.

If Democrats are considering him as an alternative, then you might as well sign up to help carry Norm's luggage back to his $600 apt.

Self Fulfilling Prophecy

I hear all the phrases. Franken is damaged goods. His campaign is floundering. He can't win. He's too angry. He's needs to change his image. He doesn't have Minnesota values.

Do this, do that, do more, do less.

Bottom line? If Democrats supported Franken in the same numbers that Republicans support Coleman, this would be a dead heat. Franken will increase his share of the independent vote. They have been hearing the rhetoric up to this point.... after Labor Day, they will concentrate on the policy.

That is where Franken wins. Democrats can grouse and bicker about campaign mistakes or judgment errors, but at the core of this campaign is one basic truth:

Democrats do not want 6 more years of Coleman. To defeat Coleman, Democrats needs to support Al Franken.

It is as simple as that.

comments (11) permalink

Speaking Out With An Occasional Honk

Category: Society
Posted: 08/12/08 14:50, Edited: 08/12/08 16:54

by Dave Mindeman

Occasionally, when on a trip downtown or driving to and fro, you run across a group of people standing on a corner trying to get your attention with a sign or a series of cheers. Sometimes they make a statement that you heartily agree with....sometimes they don't.

http://www.mnpact.org/sblog/upload/girlssign.jpg

But it is a natural reaction to respond in some way. Most often with a honk of the horn or a thumbs up out the window...or on occasion, a not so polite gesture.

It's kind of expected. Nothing really unusual about it. It's an assumed part of free expression.

http://www.mnpact.org/sblog/upload/iraqsign.jpg

Except in Burnsville, Minnesota.

At a street corner near John Kline's office, a pretty persistent group of people have been voicing their opinion, regularly, with signs and their physcial presence. John Kline has been generally ignoring them officially, but his office and staff can't help but hear the responses from passing motorists. The horns are honking their approval of the protest.

But someone else has been listening, too.

One day an enthusiastic lady let her horn give a quick toot, toot of her approval to the demonstrators. The next thing she knew she saw flashing red lights in her rear view mirror. A Burnsville policeman pulled her over and wrote her a ticket which amounted to a disturbing the peace charge (officially - "Improper Use of Horn";). She not only got a ticket but a stern, authoritative lecture from the officer, outlining the citizen noise complaints the department had received and the numerous "public safety" issues. It left the woman in tears.

Needless to say, the protesters were stunned by this action. They tried to find out if this type of ticket had ever been issued before and so far, nothing previous to this, at least locally, has shown up. There is a law on the books regarding "Improper Use of Horn", but enforcement has been virtually non-existent..... at least not until now.

As more information came forward, it turned out that the "citizen noise complaints" were from the ticketing officer himself (he lived just a few blocks away from Kline's office). The officer had run it by the city attorney who had given a verbal OK to write the tickets.

Meanwhile, this poor woman felt humilitated and was simply going to pay the fine and get on with her, "I will never honk at anything again", life.

The ACLU was contacted. They didn't have anyone available -- probably a lot of RNC issues to deal with. But later on they came through. Whether through direct contact of the attorney or just the impending presence of the ALCU getting involved did it,... the charges were dropped -- (citing improper paper work) -- and the honking world was again in proper order.

But what's next? When you see that friend on the sidewalk and you want to get his attention, do you blare your horn? When the MCCL pickets its next abortion clinic, and you want to voice your anti-choice approval, is the horn off limits? When you pass that high school team bus after a big road win, do you or do you not honk your brains out?

But most of all, are we saying that those thousands of motorists that honk their approval at the "peace now" signs lining the pedestrian walkways of the interstate highways.... are they all lawbreakers? Every one of them?

Freedom of expression takes many forms.....even that blaring horn deserves some protection.

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