Thursday, June 19, 2008

How Memes Are Created

From Media Matters for America:

CNN's Gloria Borger asserted, "[Sen. John] McCain really believes that he has an opportunity to win over these suburban women who, in recent polls, have shown that they don't like [Sen.] Barack Obama very much." But of the two recent polls identified by Media Matters that reported results for the subcategory of suburban women, one found that Obama led McCain, while the other, providing results specifically for "white suburban women," gave McCain the lead, but reportedly within the margin of error; in neither case were results reported for likability of the two candidates among suburban women.

Moreover, the second poll actually says this:

In the head-to-head matchup, Obama leads McCain among African Americans (83-7 percent), Hispanics (62-28), women (52-33), Catholics (47-40), independents (41-36) and even blue-collar workers (47-42). Obama is also ahead among those who said they voted for Clinton in the Democratic primaries (61-19).

Yet among white men — who made up 36 percent of the electorate in the 2004 presidential election — Obama trails McCain by 20 points, 55-35 percent. "That is the reason why this election is close," Hart notes.

In addition, McCain leads Obama among white suburban women (44-38), group which makes up about 10 percent of all voters that Hart calls "absolutely critical" for both candidates in the fall.

However, Obama has a seven-point advantage (46-39) among all white women. How important is that lead? Newhouse explains that Republican candidates always expect to win white men by a substantial margin, but it is white women that usually decide the race. "If a Republican wins among white women, we usually win that election," he says, noting that George W. Bush carried that group in 2000 and 2004.

Did you read it? Did you notice how Obama seems to have a much bigger problem with white men who don't seem to like him that much? For instance, if white men liked him better then it wouldn't matter what suburban women think, now would it?

All that is meme manufacturing. The actual findings don't lend themselves to some particular spotlight on suburban women (the group which is most likely to vote Republican among all women). Indeed, a much more truthful portrayal of the findings would be to ask about white men (who tend to vote Republican) and their apparent dislike of Obama. But the new meme is all about bitter women, so that's what we get.

The proper meme is that lots of Republicans are planning to vote for McCain. Now, does that surprise you?