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Harris Does Online Poll on Impeachment, Does Not Publish Results

Here's what we know.

At the same time Harris Interactive has refused to take our money to poll on impeachment. We offered to pay Harris to ask these questions:

Four Congress Members are sponsoring a bill to begin impeachment proceedings against Vice President Dick Cheney, charging him with allegedly misleading Congress about the reasons for invading Iraq and with threatening an attack on Iran. Do you support beginning such impeachment proceedings?

Would you support beginning impeachment proceedings against President George Bush?

They refuse, saying they are "uncomfortable conducting this line of questioning for your organization."

Harris can be reached at

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Screw Harris, Zogby, et all.

Conduct your own poll, how hard can it be? All they do is take a random sampling, some times as few as 1,000 people. This is not rocket science people!

On line polls, although a lot of fun, are not random, the results are heavily scewed by the likes of you and me. I can not believe taking a random sampling of one thousand people across the country is all that difficult. Start publishing your results and the big boys will be forced to follow suit, if for no other reasonthanto try and prove us wrong.

There actually IS a lot of science that goes into polling- weighting demographics, phraseology, the order in which questions are asked (most firms rotate the order... see the section on consistency to commitment in Cialdini's book PERSUASION: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF INFLUENCE for an easily read explanation of how this can impact) even intangibles like voice analogs. Think, for instance, of the simple phrase "I love you." contemplate all the different meanings that could be conveyed just by varying the tone of your voice.

In order to be valid, all these factors and many more need to be taken into consideration.

Another reason to go with an established polling firm is the appearance of bias- we can't give them a reason to question the validity. (Note that I wrote appearance of bias, and not bias. I make no such accusation.)

I'm as impatient as you are for some results, but I think David's taking the right approach.


Sounds like a troll to me.

The question asked was:

If the President of the United States is accused of misconduct, and members of the house of representatives decide that the evidence of possible misconduct is convincing...

Although some people have claimed that President George W Bush has done things that would be sufficient to justify impeachment, other people have said that he's done nothing wrong that would justify impeachment.

President of the United States/ President George W Bush
When the full titles are used, it generates what's called a 'halo effect'- conveying an ominous sense of the power of office. Compare to polling on Clinton, where he was referred to simply as Bill Clinton.

The very first word sets up doubt.

The word implies lack of credibility.

misconduct is a bland, soft description. Compare "If...accused of misconduct" to "committed high crimes and acts of treason and treachery"

conveys the sense of being an arbitrary and petty political decision, rather than having the weight of the law. Decide is arbitrary. Compare to determine.

evidence of possible misconduct
Evidence is a 'soft' word- open to dispute. Possible implies doubt. Misconduct, as stated, is 'soft'.

if... convincing
implies doubt, lack of credibility.

The very first word of the actual question sets up doubt for anything following it.

have claimed
Have claimed is passive and weak, the word 'claimed' automatically implies lack of credibility

so the phrase although some people have claimed essentially presupposes the lack of validity of the assertion.

President George W Bush
again, halo effect- conveys sense of petty politicians manufacturing weak and political accusations against the office of the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. Conveys a sense of power and magnificence.

other people have said
Said is difinitive. compare "claimed...(soft and rambling accusations)"
to "Said he's done nothing wrong..."- strong and difinitive.

he's done nothing wrong...
this is called lesser included structure, closely related to embedded command. Deep-structure linguistics are outside the scope of this post. Suffice it to say that it's there.

These are just some of the linguistic techniques being used to skew the results of this poll. If they went to these great lengths to manipulate the wording, one can only assume that they chose the demographics of their polling sample in order to secure a desired result. Even so, the results were apparently such that they were unwilling to publish.


After citing so many astute observations - several of which I also noticed, even though I have no formal education in such "push-polling" - at the very end you cripple your own statement of the logical conclusion. Tell it like it is, buddy; that the response must have clearly favored impeachment!

And even more than that; let's break it down:

Your exposure of the systematic bias in Harris' poll question clearly indicates that it pushes against support for impeachment; that's Finding #1.

But note from this we can additionally infer - Finding #2 - that Harris has a pre-existing agenda to disparrage impeachment, by constructing such a question in the first place. Perhaps this seems obvious or trivial but bear with me.

Because Finding #3 is of course that Harris' refusal to publish the result is de facto proof that it did not fit their agenda; since their goal is to disparrage impeachment we can conclude that respondents must have supported impeachment.

But not just "supported" it - remember, Finding 1 is still valid; the result remains skewed. So that if even this skewed result indicates support for impeachment, then the objective assessment - the true state - of popular opinion must be that the public strongly favors impeachment! Strongly enough even to overcome every one of the biases you observed in Finding #1!

That is what is "apparently" - check that - inescapably proven by Harris' refusal to publish the response to this, biased poll question, Drysdale.

We are gaining traction - they are afraid (which is why, no doubt, they are now testing the question to begin with) - and this thing could break wide open any moment.


(In Florida, where we know all about being manipulated and misrepresented!)

That's exactly the point I was trying to make in the last ¶, Matty! That even skewing the language is not enough to show lack of support for impeachment, otherwise they wouldn't be squelching the results! For example, (using purely fictional and made-up numbers) say their polling showed 46% support for impeachment- a more neutrally worded question might have shown closer to 54% support!
Once again, the Exemplia Gratis is for the sake of illustration only- these are just numbers that I made up, and have no factual grounding. It seems clear, however, that there's at LEAST enough sopport to warrant serious and timely public dialogue on the issue.


Disclaimer: I haven't checked into the Harris polling myself, I'm only responding to the information as it's presented in the above article and the corresponding link.


I live in the world of marketing research. You do need to use a professional research organization in order to have unbiased and statistically sound results when doing a nationally representative sample.

First - Ask Harris for what wording WOULD make them comfortable.

Second - I would recommend breaking up the first question into two parts: "Are you aware that four Congress..." and then a question about supporting impeachment proceedings for Cheney. This lets you cut the data in a more interesting way. i.e. What % of people aware of the bill support impeachment proceedings, what % of people aware of the bill don't support impeachment proceedings and vice versa. I would also ask a question to get at party affiliation so that you can better interpret the results.

Third - There are plenty of other reputable companies that can do polls. Ask them.

•Harris wasn't objecting to the wording- the wording was theirs. They objected to the results, which is why they haven't published them.
•Would be interested in seeing the breakdown as you outlined- need the polling first, though!
•He's already gone to the other reputable polling companies- repeatedly, if I'm not mistaken. That's what makes it even scarier.


Speaking of looking for reputable pollsters honest enough to enquire into impeachment, what do you know about "InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion"?

I found them in a Google search; apparently they polled on impeachment as recently as this past May 9, 2007. Note the article repeats InsiderAdvantage's claim that they have "been praised by national media ranging from CNN’s Judy Woodruff to Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly, and have appeared in Knight-Ridder newspapers, The Washington Post, Washington Times, New York Post, Business Week, US News and World Report, and CBS News/CBS Marketwatch,". Which is, I suppose "good" credentials for publicizing anything in this twisted Day and Age.

However the number they generated in the above poll - only 39% in favor of impeachment - strikes me as implausibly low, seeing as how even as early as October 24, 2006, NewsWeek got (and is clearly still trying to hide) a result of 51% in favor (scroll to bottom of the article). IMHO it would be very interesting to know exactly what were the questions, asked in what order, by NewsWeek last October.

In the later, InsiderAdvantage poll, the exact question reportedly was: "Would you favor or oppose the impeachment by Congress of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney?" Such wording - lumping both Cheney and Bush together - might have raised alarm amongst some respondents suddenly getting an image of a country stripped of all command authority. Likewise, it may have struck many as a reflecting a cynical partisan agenda to vault Nancy Pelosi into the Presidency.

Hopefully they would allow you to craft your own, carefully-designed questions, avoiding any of the above.

Did you know about these guys? Or did they already turn you down - and if so, what did they say?

Semper Fi,

-Matt in Florida

Nice find!
I wasn't aware of this, but will check it out!
I agree with your assessment on the wording- taken individually, I think the number would be higher for BOTH of them.
I believe David has made a similar point.

good lookin' out!


It was me - Matty in Florida - I just forgot the "y" in my sign-off.

Thanks for the encouragement - definitely do let us know if you find out anything additional, buddy!

Drysdale, I am enthusiastic to do this type of poll-deconstruction, analysis and exposure; I think it should be a high priority for the "media exposure" initiative suggested by others.

And I think the very highest priority of said project should be to expose outright lies - not just ommissions or oversights, but exposing deliberate lies and misinformation. Showing the "intelligent design" behind such media articles, if you will. As in the Ben Lando obfuscation about Iraq oil laws. (To which I've noted he's belched up a couple follow-ups since then.)

I would be enthusiastic to deconstruct, scrutinize and expose such dishonest "reporting", just like I did for that one. (Including as little or as much of my own ranting and prognostication as you want. LOL!)

At the same time, each expose would IMHO ideally be accompanied by correction/education sufficient to set the reader completely straight on the subject. This I would also be interested to help with.

And I think I also have a good idea for getting peoples' attention. Since the goal is to "expose" - these are "bare-faced" lies - and "the Emporer Has no Clothes" - your attention-grabbing device is clearly pictures of nudity. Erotic, humorous and/or disgusting - your choice. It will attract attention either way!

Semper Fi,

-Matty in Florida

Remember major omissions are also LIES! :-(

PNAC has morphed into FDD- "Foundation for Defense of Democracies" - just more neoconistic misnomers/euphimisms to abuse AMERICAN soldiers for neocon "goals".


I knew it was you from the grey subline on the title block! Nice play on the reciprocal truncation and rhyme, though! (Dry?! actually, I kind of like it- and when you have a name like Milburn, nicknames are always welcome! Most just call me M, MH, MD, D, Seven, or some other variation on my initials- I'll answer to just about anything!) Recent time constraints have limited the time that I have to be active here and elsewhere- lots to say, no time to say it!

One good source for polling info is Politicalarithmetik. A very good source of information on language as it applies is George Lakoff- He's written several books, speaks regularly, and quite a few of his speeches are available online. A good book for a light introduction to the potential of language is the book USING YOUR BRAIN FOR A CHANGE by Richard Bandler- there's very little actionable or instructive information, but it demonstrates the power of language. It's a great overview. The book reads like a comic book- a third grader could easily read it- you don't even have to buy it, you can read it in half an hour at Borders. Don't let the simplicity fool you- Bandler has seven doctorates.
A resource I haven't been able to check out myself yet, but sounds promising, is

Jason Bell has got some great stuff going at node 23811.


How about a Canadian or a German company? Or even Belgian? They'd have no biased axe to grind. Or care.


Why isn;t Kucinich entering a resolution to start Impeachmnet proceeding on BUSH also. This man is the most corrupt, arrogant president this country has ever had and will ever have. IMPEACH BUSH NOW. We all should be flooding Nancy Pelosi's email with a Demand to Impeach Bush and Cheney/ I am so damn, tired fo the Democrats being spineless.

Steve Sharkey

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