Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Push-polling in Miami

A new poll has been released by the pro-embargo organization Cuba Democracy Public Advocacy, purporting to show that Cuban Americans strongly support the embargo and travel ban. It was conducted my McLaughlin and Associates; the Herald covers it here and includes a link (pdf) to the poll itself.

I respect public opinion as much as the next guy, but I think we’re in trouble the day we start making foreign policy by polls.

As for Miami opinion on Cuba policy, I think you can learn a great deal about shifting opinion by standing in line for a flight to Havana at Miami International Airport (or the Cancun or Nassau airports, for that matter). You can affirm that parts of the younger generation supports hard-line policy by reading Babalu, and you can look at the recent Miami-Dade Congressional election results to affirm that for all the moderation shown in polls, support for the hard line is still pretty strong among Cuban American voters.

As for this poll, it’s a joke.

A professional pollster asks neutral questions, such as: “Are you for or against the stimulus plan that Congress is now considering?”

If subjective statements are added, then you get something like: “Congress is considering an economic stimulus plan. Some say it will lift our economy quickly and prevent job loss; others say it will take too long to take effect and will greatly increase the national debt. What is your opinion?”

A professional would never ask: “Do you support or oppose the stimulus bill that may not work, and will saddle your children and grandchildren with debt?”

Or at least a professional pollster would not ask such a question and expect a reliable result.

The embargo question in this poll is: “Do you support or oppose the current U.S. policy of maintaining the trade and tourism embargo on the Cuban regime until the Castro regime releases all political prisoners, respects basic human rights and schedules free elections?”

The travel question is: “Do you believe that Cubans who leave Cuba in order to seek freedom in the U.S. should be allowed to travel to Cuba while the regime they fled from is still in power?”

While they were at it, they could have said, “travel to Cuba like a bunch of hypocrites.”

At any rate, on the day President Obama fulfills his campaign promise, pollsters will be able to test opinion on something else: “Current policy allows Cuban Americans to travel to Cuba without restriction. Do you think all Americans should be allowed to travel to Cuba, or should current restrictions stay in place?”

Maybe that’s what prompted this poll in the first place.


Anonymous said...

That poll is a disgrace to any thinking person, right or left. Its total poll pushing 101 and thus propoganda.

The feel for teh Miami folk, and understand their pain, but these folks need more education and professionalism. This group, as others in hard line exile, are a bunch of 3rd rate hacks masquerading as real thinkers. Get an education

Anonymous said...

not hard to manipulate polls, lets see what obama does and then judge the reaction in miami

pete, quick aside -- are you attending the cuba conference at queens university in may? i'll be there participating and if you're there i'd be interested in meeting.

Anonymous said...

Is funny how when polls support The Cuban Triangle's positions their are accurate and reflect the Cuban community's wishes. The moment they do not, they are inaccurate, unprofesional a disgrace and not to be taken seriously.
Did any of you so called experts on polls, ever asked yourselves why if the Cuban Community in Miami is supposedly in the majority against the embargo and the travel ban, why did they elect 3 Cuban born representives that are in favor of those measures by a great majority and rejected the Democrat's candidates positions that were in the opposite camp?

Phil Peters said...

Anon, if you read what I wrote you might see that I mentioned the Congressional elections.