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Sunday, December 13, 2015

By a show of hands, how many believe a Des Moines Register poll?

Many people who do not like Donald Trump trumpeted today's Des Moines Register poll that showed him behind by 10 points in Iowa. Well, the previous Des Moines Register poll showed him down by 9 points two months ago.

However, despite the poll's track record, no Republican should trust the Des Moines Register. It is not only a liberal rag but a mean-spirited publication that hates conservatives. Recall its debate in 2007 when Carol Washburn, its editor, had this exchange:
WASHBURN: I want to take on a new issue. I would like to see a show of hands. How many of you believe global climate change is a serious threat and caused by human activity?
FRED THOMPSON:Well, do you want to give me a minute to answer that?
WASHBURN: No, I don't. I --
THOMPSON: Well, then I'm not going to answer it. 
That was one of the many, many attempts by her to belittle and ridicule the Republican candidates. That is the lens through which I view anything about or from the Des Moines Register, especially its presidential poll of Iowans.

Its latest numbers are: Cruz 31, Trump 21, Carson 13, Rubio 10.

Two months ago, its previous poll was: Carson 28, Trump 19, Cruz 10, Rubio 9.

The numbers may be true, but I doubt it. Here's why: Its not sure and non-committed numbers are ridiculously low.

In January, it was 7. Really? A year away from the actual caucuses, 93% had picked a candidate?

That rose to 11 in the next poll, then 10, then 11, then 7 in this one.

Not only do Iowans in this poll select candidates even before the candidates announce they are running, but they change their minds frequently. I like Walker. No, Trump. No, Carson. No, Cruz.

We shall see how this works out. It may be that because the caucuses attract real committed voters, and that the numbers are within the ballpark. Surely a million-dollar operation like the Des Moines Register would not risk its reputation on a bad poll.

But I cannot get over the embarrassment of that 2007 debate, nor can I trust the newspaper again.