Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Misleading Evidence of Misleading Poll Numbers

Greg Pollowitz makes an interesting, but ultimately unpersuasive case that Bush's low poll numbers are misleading. As evidence of this, he cites the fact that Bush recently raised $800,000 for Rep. Clay Shaw in Florida.

As unpopular as Bush is, he brings in the bucks. And here lies the problem. If Bush is so unpopular, fundraising should be a much bigger challenge. . . . It's really amazing, when you think about it, that the fundraising continues regardless of the poll numbers. . . . The money that Bush and Cheney are able to raise wherever they go indicates that the President has an approval rating much higher than the polls are leading us to believe.

That $800,000 figure is misleading. According to the Miami Herald, it was a "private Fort Lauderdale reception" of "about 350 people" who "paid at least $2,100 to attend. Individuals who contributed $4,200 or officials with political committees that gave $10,000 got the added perk of a photo with the president." That is, these are a few hundred people who can afford to drop a couple thousand on a political reception, people who might but don't necessarily share the beliefs of the rank and file. Not to overgeneralize, but for people who make those kinds of donations, such fundraisers are often as much social events as they are political events.

If that $800,000 was generated by $25 donations from people who have to pick and choose their small contributions, I'd be a bit more optimistic.

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