When even Mediaite is pointing out the way this recent Quinnipiac poll (saying the first thing people thought of when they thought of Hillary Clinton was "liar") has been unfairly reported as representative of all voters, you know there's a problem. Columnist Tommy Christopher got them to release their internal polling numbers, and they paint a different story:
Because of the way the results were reported, Republicans and Republican leaners comprised 45% of the reported responses, while Dems and Dem-leaners made up only 36%. Again, this analysis still leaves out a good 20% of the overall responses (ones which were mentioned one time or less), but when you consider the responses in context, it’s pretty clear that the negative responses were overwhelmingly from Republicans or Republican-leaning independents, and that there’s a much higher degree of descriptive unanimity among them. If there’s a point to be taken from this question, it’s that Republicans think Hillary Clinton is a liar, and perhaps Democrats and independents aren’t quite as sure what they think of her.
That is not to say that Hillary Clinton doesn’t have some work to do in the trustworthiness department, as even among Democrats, about 30% say she’s not honest and trustworthy, but it’s not the first thing they think of. In that recent Iowa poll that showed Bernie Sanders leading Hillary by a point, she smoked Sanders and Biden when Democrats were asked if the candidates have “strong leadership qualities” (92% for Clinton, versus 76% for Sanders and 81% for Biden) and on whether they have the “right temperament” for the presidency (89% for Clinton, 65% for Bernie, 81% for Biden). Hillary performed less well on the question of whether the candidate “cares about the needs and problems of people like you,” with 78% to Sanders’ 85% and Biden’s 84%, but still close.
The fact that the media has apparently adopted a “turn the corner” narrative on Hillary’s apology over the email issue could help, but the real problem that the “liar” question raises is that while Republican types really, really don’t like Hillary, Democrats and independents are somewhat ambivalent.
Christopher deserves kudos for actually caring about getting it right.
Peter Daou and Tom Watson of the Hillarymen blog, who were the first to point out problems with the poll, are calling for a retraction:
We ask Quinnipiac to retract and repudiate its false word cloud and we request that the Quinnipiac team undertake serious media outreach to alert reporters and commentators that the conclusion in their widely shared August 27th press release is false.
Only an apology and strong media outreach to retract and correct Quinnipiac’s false “findings” is a fair response to Tommy Christopher’s exposé and the #HillaryMen story.
We also ask that Quinnipiac University President John L. Lahey personally direct this effort to correct the University’s grievous error, as a signal of good faith to the American electorate and a sign that a fair and level playing field for the first serious woman presidential candidate is important to a liberal institution of higher learning.
Of course, the damage has already been done. But this is a classic illustration of the fact that polls have their own biases, intentional or not.