Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Here's a concept: Report the facts

Let me preface this post by saying that I have not decided who to endorse in the presidential primary (okay, okay, so that's not exactly breaking news, like Oprah announcing she's behind Obama.) But I am upset about the amount of negative press and non-reporting of positive events concerning Hillary Clinton. Today's example is a new poll out from ABC News and The Washington Post.

In a national poll, (that is, a poll of more than just the Iowa or New Hampshire voters), Hillary Clinton is leading the field of candidates with 53% of probable democratic voters supporting her. Obama, her closest rival, has only 23% support.

To me, this is important news. For the first time in our history, a woman running for president holds a commanding lead in the polls. Yet this story was reported in the Post with this headline:

In Poll, Huckabee Closes on Giuliani

Clinton Far Ahead Among Democrats

I have to say, this kind of reporting is turning me into a Hillary Clinton supporter. Buried at the end of the article was this (emphasis mine):

Clinton's standing on attributes and issues also remains strong. She holds a 3 to 1 edge in being perceived as the strongest leader in the field and a nearly 6 to 1 advantage as the candidate with the best experience to be president. On the issues, she holds 2 to 1 or greater leads on four top issues: the economy, Iraq, health care and terrorism, advantages that have remained steady since late September.

Nationally, Democrats say they put little stock in talk show host Oprah Winfrey's endorsement of Obama. More than eight in 10 said her support will not make a difference in their vote; 8 percent said it makes them more likely to vote for Obama, while 10 percent said it would make them less likely to support him. At the same time, among black women, two in 10 said they are more likely to support Obama because of Winfrey's recommendation. (African American women went for Clinton over Obama in the poll, 54 percent to 34 percent.)

No, I won't voter for Hillary Clinton just because she's a woman. But as a woman who grew up before Title IX was enacted, I spent most of my youth facing the realities of things I could not do because I was a girl. The only time my 6th grade basketball team got to play a real game was during halftime of the boys' game, and that was only because of a dedicated phys ed teacher. I loved politics and current events from an early age, so I eagerly watched Shirley Chisholm and Geraldine Ferraro run for office. I saw, however, that few people took them seriously as candidates — because they were women. A favorite saying about America has always been that anyone can be president. But women and people of color have known the farce of that statement.

For the first time in the history of this country, a woman is running for president and leading the polls. All I ask is that she has a fair shot.


Mauigirl said...

Good points. It's hard to tell the difference between those who denigrate Hillary for real reasons and those who just don't want a woman in the White House. But to our point at least they are taking her seriously.

Sue J said...

And another interesting take I heard this morning: the very aspects of Obama and Clinton that are touted as making them un-electable (person of color, woman) are the reasons they are actually electable. If either were a white male from New York, or Illinois, they wouldn't be ahead in the polls: candidates from those states are not considered "electable."