South Dakota’s J.A.I.L.ers are trumpeting a Zogby poll that J.A.I.L.er-in-Chief Bill Stegmeier supposedly commissioned. I agree with a comment Stegmeier left here about it. If the poll is accurate, it does prove how effective a campaign of lies can be.
I have not seen the actual poll, only what Stegmeier has said here and elsewhere. But a couple initial observations come to mind.
First, the question that was asked misstates what J.A.I.L. actually does. The question indicates J.A.I.L. is limited to complaints of misconduct against judges. A more accurate and honest statement would be: “The amendment would allow the creation of a citizen’s oversight committee or special grand jury which would hear complaints of alleged judicial misconduct against citizens serving on juries, school boards, city councils, county commissions, prosecutors and judges.” As PP asks with respect to other questions, do you think the poll might have come out differently? (By the way, where does the term “citizen’s oversight committee” appear in the amendment?)
Second, the cover letter indicates that “approximately 15 questions [were] asked.” Even taking into account use of questions to define sub-groups, we’re only seeing the response to one misleading question.
Finally, I note the poll involved about 300 fewer people than the KELO/Argus-Leader poll in July. As it’s been more than 20 years since I took a class in sampling and statistics, I have no clue if that impacts the results, particularly since it appears the Zogby poll was of “likely voters” whereas the older poll was of “registered voters.” I’ll leave that and future polls to the pundits.
I assume the No on E group and others have been polling. Quite frankly, the results of any poll are only as good as the question(s) asked. Given the limited and misleading description of J.A.I.L. in this poll, the results probably are not shocking, especially since even then one-third of the voters are “no” or undecided. The bottom line, though, remains that the poll, if accurate, reflects the sad but true fact that a whitewash can sucker the public.
It isn’t polls or public opinion of the moment that counts. It is right and wrong.
Harry S Truman