MSNBC poll about Obama's "lipstick on a pig" comment precluded exoneration of Obama or assessment of McCain reaction

››› ››› DIANNA PARKER

MSNBC.com conducted a poll September 9 asking readers "Do you think Sen. Barack Obama went too far with his 'lipstick on a pig' remark?" Not only did the poll frame the question in a way that baselessly presumed Obama was referring to Gov. Sarah Palin, but MSNBC did not offer readers the opportunity to respond that Obama did not go "too far" or to criticize the McCain campaign's reaction to the comments.

After Sen. John McCain's campaign accused Sen. Barack Obama of making a reference to Gov. Sarah Palin when he said during a campaign stop: "You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig," MSNBC.com conducted a September 9 poll asking readers "Do you think Sen. Barack Obama went too far with his 'lipstick on a pig' remark?" Not only did the poll frame the question in a way that baselessly presumed Obama was referring to Palin, but MSNBC did not offer readers the opportunity to respond that Obama did not go "too far" because the expression is common in political rhetoric, because both Obama and McCain have used it in the past, or because the Obama campaign said he was not drawing comparison to Palin when he made the remark. Nor did the poll offer respondents an opportunity to assess the McCain campaign's conduct in accusing Obama of sexism.

The options for responding to the September 9 MSNBC.com poll were:

  • Yes, he has crossed the line this time.
  • No, this is just part of the rough-and-tumble of political campaigning.
  • I don't know.

By contrast, the conservative website WorldNetDaily (WND) conducted a similar online poll, asking readers: "What do you think of Obama's 'lipstick on a pig' remark?" But the WND poll offered several responses that included the possibility that Obama was not referring to Palin and included the option of criticizing the McCain campaign. Indeed, the first four options in WND's poll were:

  • Oh, for heaven's sake, it was obviously an innocent metaphor
  • It's just an old saying and one both he and McCain have used before
  • It has nothing to do with Sarah Palin
  • It's shocking McCain supporters are trying to turn this into an attack on Palin
Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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