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Wilson Research Strategies survey: Controversial Zogby Poll Duplicated and Confirmed Presidential Campaign Media Coverage “Creates Two Americas”


For media inquiries, contact:

John Ziegler at talktozig@aol.com



For methodological or other survey related questions, contact:

Chris Wilson, cwilson@w-r-s.com or

Bryon Allen, ballen@w-r-s.com


 Washington, DC—A new Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research poll of 2008 presidential election voters on behalf of documentary filmmaker John Ziegler shows startling differences in political and issue awareness.  The survey, a follow-up study to an earlier controversial poll conducted by Zogby International of Obama voters, finds that McCain voters were generally more politically aware of issues and events surrounding the presidential race than voters who supported Barack Obama.  The poll also found a direct correlation between media consumption, issue knowledge and voter preference.


The survey examined not just voter knowledge of campaign issues and themes, but the media sources from which McCain and Obama voters received their political knowledge.  This survey, building on data from the initial Zogby study, confirms initial findings and suggests that not only were McCain voters more politically aware, but that their information sources gave them a fundamentally different set of facts about the election.


“There has been a tremendous amount of punditry and debate about whether or not there was mainstream media and popular culture bias during the presidential election and whether or not that led to an overt polarization of the electorate in 2008 and now it is possible to quantitatively illustrate that not only did both of the above take place, but they likely did so at a disservice to the voters,” said Chris Wilson, CEO of Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research.


“This wasn’t just an election in which supporters of the two major party candidates divided on ideological lines or separate goals for the direction of the nation,” said Wilson.  “It was also an election where the electorate was literally divided by separate realities of the world around them.” 


“As the data from these surveys show, the information believed to be true by, respectively, McCain and Obama voters directly correlates not just to the candidate each voter was likely to support, but also the sources from which the voter received his or her political information,” Wilson commented.


Highlights of the Survey:


·         The 12 political knowledge multiple choice questions from the Zogby poll were duplicated in this study.  Additionally, one question on the Charles Keating scandal was added for further balance.  The results from Obama voters were almost identical in both polls. 

o   Thirty-five percent (35%) of McCain voters got 10 or more of 13 questions correct.

o   Eighteen percent (18%) of Obama voters got 10 or more of 13 questions correct.


·         Respondents were asked which party controlled both houses of congress before the past election, Republicans or Democrats.

o   McCain voters knew which party controls congress by a 63-27 margin.

o   Obama voters got the “congressional control” question wrong by 43-41.

o   Those that got “congressional control” correct voted 56-43 for McCain.

o   Those that got “congressional control” wrong voted 65-35 for Obama.


·         The poll also asked voters to name all the media sources which they used to get news and information about the presidential campaign.

o   Those “exposed” to Fox News got “congressional control” correct 64-25 (+39).

o   Those “exposed” to CNN got “congressional control” correct 48-38 (+10).

o   Those “exposed” to Network news got “congressional control” correct 48-39 (+9).

o   Those “exposed” to print media got “congressional control” correct 52-37 (+15).

o   Those “exposed” to MSNBC got “congressional control” correct 55-35 (+20).

o   Those “exposed” to talk radio got “congressional control” correct 61-29 (+32).

o   Voters in the “South” had the best response rate on “congressional control” (+22).

o   Voters in the “Northeast” had the worst response rate on “congressional control” (+9).

o   Those “exposed” to Fox News voted 70-29 for McCain.

o   Those “exposed” to CNN voted 63-37 for Obama.

o   Those “exposed” to MSNBC voted 73-26 for Obama.

o   Those “exposed” to network newscasts voted 62-37 for Obama.

o   Those “exposed” to national newspapers voted 64-36 for Obama.

o   Those “exposed” to talk radio voted 61-38 for McCain.


·         Those that could associate Bill Ayers’ name/story with Obama voted 52-48 for McCain (We added Ayers name to the “Zogby” question and it significantly increased the rate of correct response, indicating a very superficial grasp of the overall story).


·         Those that knew Obama had made negative comments about “coal power plants” voted 76-24 for McCain.


·         Those that knew Obama had his opponents removed from the ballot in his first campaign voted 66-34 for McCain.


·         McCain voters did poorly (42% correct) on the Charles Keating question and, in general, all voters did worse on questions where the negative information was about their candidate of choice.


·         Those “exposed” to MSNBC “scored” 90% correct on the three Palin questions (including 98% on the “pregnant teenage daughter” question), while those not “exposed” to MSNBC averaged 84% correct on those three questions.



For additional results of the survey, please visit www.howobamagotelected.com or see below for the Master Questionnaire, Crosstabs or Executive Summary Presentation.



Mission of the Survey:


This survey of McCain and Obama voters was conducted as a follow-up to the November 2008 Ziegler Media/Zogby survey of Obama voters conducted shortly after the election.  This second survey was conducted to test several basic questions raised by the initial study, including but not limited to:


1.    How the information received by Obama voters regarding the 2008 presidential campaign was similar or different from the information received by McCain voters?

2.    What role might exposure to different media outlets have on the information each candidate’s voters had about the campaign?


Additionally, this study modified basic language from the initial study regarding several presidential news stories to remove potential confusion evidenced in the initial Zogby study.  This study also tested an additional campaign story, the McCain/Charles Keating story, to add balance and explore the difference in recall of more recent versus older stories in news coverage and retention.


The results of the this study confirm the Zogby data among Obama voters while pointing out important differences between the information many Obama voters and many McCain voters had when they voted. 





On behalf of Ziegler Media, Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research conducted a nationwide research study of actual voters in the 2008 Presidential Race.


Respondents were sampled using a Registration Digit Dialing (RDD) methodology.  The sample was stratified based on the geographic distribution of actual votes cast in the 2008 presidential election.


Respondents were contacted by phone via a live telephone operator interview November 23 – 25, 2008.  The study has a sample size of n=1,000 voters.  The margin of error is equal to ±3.1% in 95 out of 100 cases.


After interviewing concluded, responses were weighted so that the final data would reflect the actual vote outcome of the 2008 Presidential Election, as well as the demographics of the electorate as reported in the National Election Pool Exit Polls.


A full questionnaire with percentages, cross tabulations of the data, executive summary presentation and a detailed methodology in full compliance with the National Council on Public Polls’ principles of disclosure can be found here:

Master Questionnaire with percentages

Crosstabulations of data

Executive Summary Presentation

Detailed Methodology


For more information on Ziegler’s upcoming documentary film, Media Malpractice…How Obama Got Elected, please visit www.HowObamaGotElected.com, where there is a video of Obama voters on Election Day being asked many of the same questions.



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