‘Tis the Season to Poll

It’s a bit of a stretch for the Star Ledger to portray Sen. Hillary Clinton’s (D-NY) as having “surprisingly weak support from women” based on the new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.

The poll actually shows Clinton leading by a 9 percent margin among women in a head-to-head horse race against former NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Not bad 15 months before the general election…”a lifetime in politics.”

So why is anyone trying to make apples of an oranges comparison by pointing out the double digit leads held by Al Gore and John Kerry among women in 2000 and 2004? After all, Gore (8%) and Kerry (10%) held roughly the same gender advantage over their opponent just months before the state’s primary.

How about the fact that Gore’s gender advantage (4%) in a match-up with 2000 Republican presidential candidate John McCain was less than half the margin now held by Clinton over one of her potential 2008 candidates.

Hmmm…sounds like the former first lady is already making headway with NJ women voters even when she is pitted against the GOP’s momentary favorite son in the Garden State.

And while “more women have an unfavorable view of Clinton (36 percent) than of Giuliani (28 percent),” it’s really a small difference in a sample with a margin of error of about 4.7 percent.

Stated another way, “Roughly equal proportions of women view the two favorably…” Weak???

Here’s my problem with this report: The Star Ledger should have presented the numbers straight up and let readers draw their own conclusions, or else conspicuously labeled the report as “Analysis.” The New York Times has adopted a policy of denoting any pieces that contain opinion.

It’s a policy worth emulating.

‘Tis the Season to Poll