Looking At The MoveOn Poll
June 25, 2003
With the MoveOn.org Democrat presidential primary poll now underway, I thought it would be interesting to share with those of you who are not participating in this poll an inside look at what is happening behind the scenes of this poll.
A few weeks ago, the leaders of MoveOn.org conducted a preliminary straw poll of their existing membership to see who they favored in next year’s Democrat race for president. Here is a copy of the e-mail that told about the upcoming poll:
Over the next few weeks, we'll be bringing together MoveOn members, political leaders, and policy folks to develop a big-thinking, forward-looking platform for MoveOn's work. The final document will contain ideas and messages that resonate broadly and move people to action. Especially after the 2002 election, we want to ensure that Democrats and leading progressives are never again indicted for "having no message." It'll also be deeply pragmatic -- an agenda that we can and will accomplish in the coming years.
You'll hear more about that soon, but before we start, we need some input from you. We'd like to involve some of the Democratic candidates in this process, and we want to know which candidates MoveOn members favor. You can cast your vote at:
We'll ask MoveOn members' favorite few candidates to get involved in the agenda-building process. That will introduce us to the candidates, and demonstrate to the candidates the creativity, intelligence, and power of the broad MoveOn membership.
It may feel early to be talking about the 2004 presidential campaign. In fact, the election cycle is already in full swing: President Bush has quietly laid his plans and assembled his generals. Insiders report that he plans on raising over $250 million in the coming year and a half. On the Democratic side, candidates have been struggling to get their message out for several months.
Unfortunately, ordinary voters have no role at this stage of the process. Instead, the pundits, pollsters and elite donors have all the power. Their cynical judgments, discredited polls and $2000 checks are determining the short list of "electable" candidates from which we will have to choose in our state Democratic primaries.
With our agenda in hand, we can play an unprecedented role in the presidential campaign. But first we need to develop a common agenda. Today's straw poll is the first step. Please take a minute to vote at:
May 29th, 2003
Clicking on the link to the preliminary poll, here’s what I found:
MoveOn Presidential Straw Poll for XXXXXXXX
(Note: only one vote per MoveOn member is counted. People not already on the MoveOn mailing list cannot vote in this poll.)
Over the next few weeks, we'll be bringing together MoveOn members, political leaders, and policy folks to develop a big-thinking, forward-looking platform for MoveOn's work. The final document will contain ideas and messages that resonate broadly and move people to action. Especially after the 2002 election, we want to ensure that Democrats and leading progressives are never again indicted for "having no message." It'll also be deeply pragmatic -- an agenda that we can and will accomplish in the coming years. You'll hear more about that soon, but before we start, we need some input from you. We'd like to involve some of the Democratic candidates in this process, and we want to know which candidates MoveOn members favor.
Of the nine declared Democratic presidential candidates, who would you most like to see become president?
Please indicate your FIRST CHOICE:
You may also indicate a second or third choice.
Marking a second or third choice WILL NOT count against your first-choice candidate.
Please indicate your SECOND CHOICE
Please indicate your THIRD CHOICE
Please add your comments here: ___________
The winners of the straw poll were Dean, Kucinich and Gephardt. That is when the controversy started over alleged “rigging” of this poll supposedly by Dean supporters working at MoveOn.org. Nevertheless, MoveOn.org says the poll’s integrity has not and will not be breached.
When I woke up on Tuesday morning and didn’t see a copy of my ballot in my e-mail inbox, I was wondering if maybe they didn’t want me to vote in their stinkin’ poll. But, alas, blame it on my ISP! They blocked the e-mail thinking it was spam. But, MoveOn.org had a convenient way to have the ballot mailed to me again. When I requested it to be sent to me again, here was the message I received just seconds later:
You've requested another copy of your primary ballot link.
Your link is:
Do not forward this email to anyone else, as that would enable others to change your vote.
--The MoveOn Team
Okay, that was easy enough. Then I clicked on the special unique link they provided for me to access the poll. The following information is written verbatim as it appears on the MoveOn.org website poll. There is supposed to be close to one million or so people voting in this poll that closes at 11:59pm tonight:
ELECTRONIC BALLOT FOR: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Research the candidates:
The following people are running for the Democratic nomination for President in 2004. Please vote for ONE candidate by clicking on the circle next to that person’s name.
Note: if a candidate wins more than 50% of the vote – including those who respond undecided – MoveOn.org PAC will endorse that candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
Carol Moseley BRAUN
If you chose 'other', please write in a candidate: __________
Are we unified to beat Bush, no matter who the eventual Democratic nominee is?
Please select all of the candidates who you would enthusiastically support in the 2004 general election against George W. Bush, if chosen as the Democratic Party nominee next summer after the Democratic Primaries:
(Choose as many as you like.)
Carol Moseley BRAUN
ANY DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE
Below are some optional questions for you to answer that are intended to help engage MoveOn.org’s membership in the political process.
I would like to get involved in a campaign now. I authorize MoveOn to give my email address to the candidate I chose above.
I pledge to make a financial contribution to a candidate.
I pledge to volunteer for a candidate.
Feel free to add comments here: __________
Following the MoveOn.org vote, there will be a scientific phone survey of a random sample of voters to help MoveOn.org confirm the accuracy of this online primary. Please provide us with contact information including a telephone number where you can be reached between 5 pm and 9 pm on Wednesday, June 25 and Thursday, June 26.
There is only a small chance you will be contacted, and the telephone pollers will absolutely not ask you for a financial contribution. The purpose of their random calls is to verify the accuracy and integrity of our virtual voting process. MoveOn.org PAC never solicits contributions via telephone.
THIS IS A SECRET BALLOT VOTE. We will not make public your vote or any of your personal information.
Required: I certify that:
* I will submit no more than one vote in the MoveOn Primary
* I am at least 18 years of age
* I am a United States Citizen
I think it is interesting to note that MoveOn.org leaves the door wide open for a write-in candidate such as Al Gore, Hillary Clinton or even George W. Bush to make an impact on this poll. Nevertheless, we'll have to wait and see what happens. Then, I received the following e-mail from MoveOn late Tuesday afternoon:
Dear MoveOn member,
Who should MoveOn endorse for President? Cast your vote NOW at:
The link above will only allow you to vote once, so don't send it on to your friends or family -- it won't work for them.
By midnight on Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of MoveOn members will have indicated who they want MoveOn to support. If any candidate gets over 50% of the vote, MoveOn will endorse that candidate and immediately start organizing and raising money for him or her. If no one gets over 50%, we'll highlight all of the campaigns and continue the process.
Here's why voting in the primary is so important:
* EVERYONE'S WATCHING. From the Washington Post to CNN, major media outlets are ready to report on the results of the primary. Your vote will help determine the outcome, which could have a big impact on how different campaigns are perceived in the press.
* ORDINARY PEOPLE CHOOSE. In most primary processes, pundits and big donors choose the nominee long before ordinary folks get a chance to vote. If we work together, we can change that dynamic, and remind campaigns that they're ultimately accountable to us. The more people that vote, the more valid the outcome will be.
* THE POWER OF NUMBERS. Many of us may be involved individually in the primary process. But with over a million of us working together, our impact will be exponentially more powerful. The MoveOn Primary will help us work together to elect the best Democratic president possible in 2004.
* BEATING BUSH. A lot of people will be looking at this primary to gauge how energized and excited folks are to beat Bush. If lots of us vote, we can send a message that Bush's opposition will be organized, active, and powerful.
* LAST BUT NOT LEAST: MAKE YOUR CANDIDATE WIN. Your candidate will need every possible vote to do well in the primary. Vote for him or her.
If you want to learn more before you vote, we've put up a section of our web site to help you out. You can read letters from each candidate to the MoveOn membership, as well as their answers to MoveOn members' questions, at: http://www.moveon.org/pac/cands/
Cast your vote now at:
--Carrie, Eli, Joan, Peter, Wes, and Zack
The MoveOn Team
June 23rd, 2003
P.S. Here's a great article printed in the Washington Post and the American Prospect about the MoveOn Primary:
Why MoveOn's backing could be priceless to a Democratic candidate
By Harold Meyerson
Paid for by MOVEON.ORG PAC, P.O. Box 9218, Berkeley, CA 94709. This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. Website: www.moveonpac.org.
So, there you have it. All you ever wanted to know about this worthless poll that really won’t make a difference in the 2004 presidential election. But isn’t it nice to see the Democrats and their liberal organizations spending lots of money on fun little polls like this one?!
My advice: begin saving now for 2008!
Now, who should I vote for in the poll? The Socialist, the Communist, the Racist, the...(I'm gonna be here a while)