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POLL: CBS Obama's Speech


CBS News
(story, results)

"Most voters following the events regarding Senator Barack Obama and Rev. Jeremiah Wright think Obama's speech was a success. Most agree with his thoughts on race, and think he did a good job explaining his relationship with Rev. Wright. However, the percentage who thinks he would unite the country has dropped since late February."

70% of say these events have made no difference in whether or not they would vote for Obama; 14% said it makes them more likely to vote for Obama, 14% say less likely.

"For this poll, CBS News re-interviewed voters who were first surveyed between March 15th and 18th, 2008, in the midst of the Wright controversy and mostly before Obama's speech on race, to gauge their reactions to Tuesday’s speech and the continuing controversy over Wright's comments."

 

Comments
Andrew_in_California:

Interesting explanation of how the polls haven't changed in many places because of this. Would be nice to see how some of the results broke out regionally for the upcoming primaries.

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Mike_in_CA:

For Obama's "worst week ever" I'll say he fared pretty well. If this poll is a sign of things to come (coupled with the latest Gallup tracking that took the score from 49-42 Clinton on Tuesday to 47-45 today) I say he could be one of the Democrats' strongest candidate in a while. I think this poll basically says that Obama can be "swiftboated" and survive. Either that means two things:

1. Swiftboating won't work as effectively anymore because the general public doesnt like it
2. Obama is somewhat teflon when it comes to swiftboating.

As far as general election matchups go right now, those polls are hardly worth paying attention to. The Repubs have decided on their nominee and the Dems are still duking it out. Once a Dem nominee is chosen expect those polls to change.

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Joseph E:

Reaction 1: Way to go, CBS!
I'm impressed that the called back the same folks they interviews March 15-18th to get their reaction. That greatly increased my trust in the results.

Reaction 2: Boo!!! I want more cross-tabswhy aren't those cross-tabs included?! Couldn't they have told us how Obama vs Clinton vs Undecided voters viewed the speech?

Analysis:

In medicine, we have "case-control studies", which are usually retrospective, and "cohort studies" which are prospective (you start with the group and follow them over time). Neither is as good as a randomized controlled trial (which is impossible in politics), but the cohort study is much more useful when it comes to cause vs. effect.

Chiefly, it eliminates recall bias, where people forget what the really did or thought in the past ("sure, I was always against the Iraq war!" To be honest, I don't even remember my exact thoughts in 2003).

In this case, the big problem in finding out the effect of the speech is recall bias. Folks who already hated Obama for whatever reason are likely to say that it made them less likely to vote for him, and those who like him are likely to praise him, even if they didn't hear or read the speech.

Calling back people who have alreay given an opinion gives us the ability to make cross-tabs that break out the response based on what people said at the height of the scandal, and see what has really changed. I don't see why CBS couldn't do that.

One problem with call-back polls: the polling Heisenberg effect; observation changes the subject. That is, the act of calling people and asking their opinion many cause a few of them to change their future behavior. "Push polls" work on a version of this principle... but no one seems to know how big of a problem it is. Otherwise, why not get a big group of people and call them back every week to get a really good trend line?

Actually, I wish the Gallup Daily would do just that. At least it would take out much of the "noise" in the chart due to selection bias.

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kingsbridge77:

Does CBS News use the same pollster used by the CBS/NY Times polls? I say this because the CBS/NY Times polls seem to have a pro-Obama bias, illustrated by the fact that CBS/NY Times is the only poll showing Obama leading McCain by a comfortable 5% margin at this point, in cotrast to others such as Rasmussen, Gallup and CNN that have Obama either by a large margin or trailing or beating McCain by just a 1% margin.

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Cal :

Didn't they weed out the people who hadn't heard about the controversy?

Also, this here:

"Do you mostly agree or mostly disagree with what Barack Obama said about race relations in his speech?"

63% said they agree? I'm not at all sure I buy that.

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Char:

Obama's speech was great! It's too bad the republicans are so narrow minded and won't even give him a chance. We need to just go ahead and get the healthcare reform bill passed and not depend on any help from the republicans. We are not going to get it so why keep trying! They don't care that thousands of people don't have health care and don't care what happens to them. All they care about is making sure that Obama doesn't get it passed and therefore, it will hurt his chances of getting another 4 years in office!

I for one need health care at a reasonable price, not a COBRA that charges you $370.00/per month per individual! I paid that for as long as I could and just can't not afford $375.00 on a widows Social Security!

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