In remarks to Greg Sargent about the questions asked at ABC’s Democratic primary candidate debate the other day, co-moderator George Stephanopoulos is quoted as saying:
“We decided to focus at the top on the issues that had been at the center of the debate since the last debate. Everything we brought up in that front section had not come up since the last debate. And they all focused on the same theme — which candidate would be a stronger Democratic candidate in Novembber.” [sic]
“This is the core question for the campaigns, and a lot of Democratic voters right now. That’s why we decided to lead with it.”
Interestingly enough, that’s at some variance with what ABC’s own poll reported today, based on data collected between April 10th and 13th.
The poll — embargoed until more than 24 hours after the debate but certainly available to Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson — asked right up front what voters through was “the single most important issue in your choice for president.”
Was it the candidates’ pastors?
Was it the candidates’ flag pins?
Was it vague associations they had with former ’60s radicals?
No. 41% of the respondents said that the most important issue in their choice for president was the economy and jobs. That’s up from 11% last September.
The war in Iraq was a distant second, at 18% (down from 35%).
Health: 7% (down from 13%). Terrorism, government ethics, illegal immigration, they all came in as the top choice of 4-5% of the respondents.
Maybe the hour Gibson and Stephanopoulos spent talking about Bittergate and Bosnia fit into the 7% Other category, but it’s hard to weigh that time against the 59% of the people — from ABC’s own poll — who thought the economy and Iraq were the most important issues in their presidential choice.
It makes you wonder if perhaps Charlie and George are out-of-touch elitists.