Tuesday, September 30, 2003

"An outrageous way for reporters to assess candidate support." Sounds reasonable to me...

Talking Points - By, Terry M. Neal

One of the prevailing views of former Vermont governor Howard Dean is that his support is soft among minority voters --a constituency that any Democratic candidate must inspire to win the nomination.

This subject has been broached by a number of journalists and described as a potential weakness that could derail his march to the nomination. While there appears to be some truth to that point of view, the whole picture -- like so many things -- might be a bit more complicated.

I broached this subject with Dean over breakfast at the Dubliner restaurant in Washington on Saturday. I asked him why Dean supporters have been portrayed as homogenous.

"It's not true," he said.

Where does the perception come from then?

"It comes from the reporters who go to the rallies."

Well, that doesn't seem to be an outrageous way for reporters to assess candidate support. There have been few polls that have attempted to gauge minority support for the Democratic candidates. So reporting on the sort of crowds a candidate draws appears to be fair.


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