Simple mistake, or wish fulfillment? Appearing on MSNBC this afternoon, a Washington Post reporter claimed the paper's latest poll results showedwith a "big lead" over John McCain on the issue of handling Iraq. The only problem: the poll actually shows McCain with a small lead on the issue. David interviewed Ed of at 3:03 PM EDT.
DAVID SHUSTER: Ed, when asked who do you trust on the economyis ahead by 16 points. On women's issues he's ahead by 32 points. So where's John McCain making up the difference.
ED O'KEEFE: Terrorism. He's ahead of him big on that issue and that issue alone, it seems. Also, there's a perceived weakness for generally on his experience. McCain's certainly ahead on those two things. But you're right: on everything else, especially the big issues—Iraq and the economy, health care— has a big lead.
View video here.
link to the paper's own polling data. The results on Iraq are displayed at question 17, and show McCain with that slim lead.has a "big lead" on Iraq? apparently wasn't looking at the monitor, which showed [see ] that on the question of which candidate people trust to handle the war in Iraq, McCain is leading by 47% to 46%. And no, MSNBC didn't misstate the poll results. Here's a
So again, simple mistake, or perhaps a mind-set that says "everyone knows Americans are 'against' the war, so surelymust be leading in the polls"? My two cents say that while many Americans feel the war was a mistake, they believe the surge—that McCain championed and opposed—is working and don't favor an ignominious withdrawal.
Let's put the wish fulfillment theory this way: how likely is it that the WaPo reporter would have mistakenly presented the poll results in McCain's favor?
Update | 7-3-08: O'Keefe Responds
Ed O'Keefe has been in touch to say that the mistake in representing the results of the poll was just that—a mistake—with no other motive involved. Ed also mentioned that, contrary to my indication in the orignal post, he did not previously work on This Week With George Stephanopoulos. That's another Ed O'Keefe. I apologize for the error.