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Sarah Palin – Beware of the Iowa Focus Group

Posted by Shane Vander Hart on March 2, 2011

imageFormer Governor Sarah Palin hasn’t even decided to run.  We haven’t even have had one vote cast, and we already have some writing the narrative that she is unelectable.  This isn’t anything new for Governor Palin or for presidential politics for that matter.  We have seen a journalist spin a poll, and now we have a focus group.  Oh the dreaded focus group, they are such worthwhile sources of information.

Say I convened a sample group of six people – one farmer, one lawyer, one college student, one factory worker, one auto mechanic, and one doctor.  There were three guys and three girls.  They each liked different brands of pop (or soda if you are a friend from the south).  One liked Mountain Dew, one liked Dr. Pepper, one liked Sprite, another liked Sunkist, one liked Pepsi and yet another liked Coke because “it’s the real thing” and she really would like to buy the world a Coke.

They were unanimous in their belief that Mr. Pibb tasted like carbonated prune juice.

Does that mean that a majority of people believe that Mr. Pibb tastes like carbonated prune juice?  No (I actually think it does, but I digress).  Is it newsworthy?  Hardly – it is just six people!

My hypothetical focus group is just as worthless as this focus group on the Iowa Caucus is.  You might have an interesting discussion, but do you really have worthwhile information?

Time will tell.  The only thing it tells me is that six people whom The Iowa Republican selected (I have no criteria on how they made their selection or who is considered an “activist”) say she is unelectable.  Well I do know they said they were conservative activists and then they identify Connie Schmett as one of the members of the group.  While I wouldn’t consider Connie and Kim Schmett flaming liberals I’m not sure conservative is the right word.  Republican certainly, conservative… well Kim Schmett didn’t strike me as particularly conservative when he ran for Congress in 2008.  The couple since haven’t done much to change my opinion.  Connie Schmett is an excellent fundraiser though.

The group also said that Mitt Romney is in trouble because of RomneyCare.  I happen to agree with this, but again it proves nothing.  It is the opinion of the six people in the room, some of whom may have never liked Palin (or Romney) anyway.  The Iowa Republican was asked to pull this focus group together for McClatchy Newspapers who happens to own Anchorage Daily News.  I’m sure there’s no agenda whatsoever!  Because they *certainly didn’t* demonstrate any type of agenda or bias while Governor Palin was in office.  While Kevin Hall and Craig Robinson may not have planned to contribute to a narrative, but McClatchy won’t mind running with it.

Shane Vander Hart is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Caffeinated Communications Network (Caffeinated Thoughts, Caffeinated Theology and Caffeinated TV).  He keeps his eye on the 2012 Presidential Race from his home near Des Moines, IA where they are already starting to trip over candidates.  Feel free to friend him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

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One Response to “Sarah Palin – Beware of the Iowa Focus Group”

  1. Maring Swart said

    So much talk. Everyone needs just to breath. Let the Gov. make her decisions in her own time.

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