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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Poll position

The Freeman’s online reader poll, which I write five of the seven days each week, asked the following beginning around 7 p.m. Wednesday:

“Did you perceive Barack Obama’s ‘lipstick on a pig’ comment as being an insult to GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin?”

I knew the question would elicit numerous responses, and I guessed they’d break about 50-50.

Shortly after the question went up, 20 people had responded, and the yes-no split was, indeed, dead even.

This morning, with about 200 people having responded, the tally still was in the neighborhood of 50-50.

When I checked the results around 2 p.m., we were closing in on 350 responses, and the result was little changed from earlier in the day.

Then, about 5:15 p.m., when I went to deactivate the question and post the next one, there suddenly were nearly 900 responses, with 80 percent of them saying yes, the “lipstick” comment was an insult to Palin.

In other words, some Obama opponent found a way to beat the system. Our Web site is designed in such a way that the poll question can be answered only once per computer. (If you try to answer more than once, the subsequent votes simply are not recorded.) But a computer whiz can find a way around low-tech security systems, and someone obviously figured out how to vote multiple times in our poll and have all of the votes recorded.

Good for you, whoever you are. You got your way. You’ll get to see a poll result in Friday morning’s Freeman that says 80 percent of the 896 respondents found the “lipstick” remark offensive.

But what you, and our honest respondents, won't get to see is the truthful result to our poll – which, given the day’s trend, appears to have been about 50-50.



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