Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Rascal smells a rat

At a little past 3 p.m. today, Rockford time, the Drudge Report excitedly posted a story about a new national poll purporting to show that the American people have suddenly turned hawkish on the war in Iraq.

Five hours later, the story strangely disappeared from Drudge's front page, which prompted The Rascal to actually do a little digging (which was not his plan for a pleasant Tuesday evening and which too closely resembles actual work). But I couldn't help wondering why Drudge suddenly got cold feet over this poll.

Let's consider several factors:

1) The poll was conducted by an outfit called Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican firm that's been accused in the past of doing "push polls" -- that is, surveys with questions calculated to elicit desired responses.

2) The Public Opinion Strategies poll was conducted two weeks ago, but the results are only now coming out.

3) More recent polls conducted by major independent organizations show results that are dramatically different from those reported by Public Opinion Strategies.

But, hey, don't let The Rascal's skepticism sway you. Check it out for yourself. Here's all the data from the Public Opinion Strategies poll, and here's a whole passel of results from other polls.

Some of the right-wing elements of the blogosphere -- this one, for example -- already are waxing ecstatic in light of the item on the Drudge Report, but none of the major conservative Web sites has weighed in yet.

We'll see how this all plays out. If the poll initially touted by Drudge proves bogus, The Rascal will say he told you so. If it doesn't, I'll point out that I hedged a bit in this post.

When you're as careful and cunning as The Rascal, you always come up smelling like a rose.

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