Polls, Talking Points, and a Blue Joke

In advance of tonight’s VP debate, bloggers are combing through polling data gathered after last Thursday’s presidential face-off. Ruy Teixeira at Donkey Rising offers a nice wrap-up. Attached to the numbers, however, is a P.S., courtesy of pollster Guy Molyneux. The media needs to remember that polls are about as meaningful as the pronouncements inside a fortune cookie, says Molyneux, sounding eerily like Campaign Desk.

Of course, there are some polls of such weight that they can’t be ignored. Among them a new poll taken by The Hill, Capitol Hill’s own newspaper. Via Taegen Goddard here’s the latest bean count:

… President Bush and Sen. John Kerry are tied among coffee drinkers, 44 percent to 44 percent. However, among those who take their coffee black, Bush leads 48 percent to 42 percent. Kerry “takes the cream-and-sugar crowd” by a margin of 50 percent to 36 percent.

As for fodder for tonight’s debates, some bluish members of the blog world offer up suggested talking points.

Steven C. Clemons at The Washington Note would like to hear more about Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s comments yesterday to the Council on Foreign Relations. Rumsfeld said: “To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links [Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda].” Then, writes Clemons, “before the day ended, the Department of Defense issued a release saying that Secretary Rumsfeld did not mean what he said.” Says Clemons: “Apparently, Don Rumsfeld committed heresy and wasn’t free to think out of bounds. Good boy Don — please do this again, and again.”

Andrew Sullivan, who thinks Dick Cheney will clean John Edwards’ clock, hopes Edwards asks the vice president about yesterday’s comments by Paul Bremer, the president’s envoy to Iraq. Bremer said that the U.S. “paid a big price” for not having enough troops on the ground after the overthrow of Hussein.

“That’s a big admission,” writes Sullivan. “Why doesn’t Edwards bring that up directly tonight with Cheney?”

And, finally, Max Sawicky at MaxSpeak suggests that if the subject of tort reform is mentioned tonight, Edwards should leap on it. Sawicky wants John Edwards, ex-trial lawyer, to mention a new Public Citizen report showing that many more lawsuits are filed by business firms than individuals. He observes:

The wingnuts in Congress and elsewhere have been agitating for years on the canard that lawsuits are crippling the economy. Naturally, their legislative proposals are anti-consumer, not necessarily anti-lawsuit. Tomorrow night, our vice president may allude to this topic.

And finally, giving proof to those skeptics who maintain that the blog world is society’s most successful recycling effort, here’s a joke that seems to be everywhere today.

We’ll hope for a Kerry joke tomorrow.

Susan Q. Stranahan

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Susan Q. Stranahan wrote for CJR.