MATT LAUER: And Chuck, real quickly, this story that a lot of people are talking about, this Public Policy Polling, these surveys done in Alabama and Mississippi that seem to indicate in Alabama 45% of people think Barack Obama is Muslim, 52% in Mississippi. You're not so sure on these numbers. You don't like this survey.First things first—PPP and SUSA, both robopollsters, are among the most accurate pollsters in the biz. This year, PPP has been head and shoulders above the rest—and that's with polling impossible to gauge contests like the Wisconsin recalls. The networks sure as hell aren't putting their polling reputations on the line by doing such contests. I know the Beltway crowd has a bug up its ass about automated calls, but the data simply doesn't bear out their skepticism. A pollster can be good or bad regardless of whether they have minimum wage call centers making the calls or not.
CHUCK TODD: Well, there's a couple of things. One, it's an automatic – it's a robo-survey, so you get an auto phone call and you press a button to answer the question, one if he's a Christian, two if he's a Muslim. But you introduce it – the way the question was asked, I think it just was designed to get a higher number. Because there are some Republicans who may not believe the President – who may believe the President is a – may not believe he's a Muslim, but like saying it because it's a way to attack him. It's sort of a way to needle him.
So, I think this question was designed to get a higher percentage in the answer than maybe what's actually true. And it's certainly created a buzz among liberals who are trying to create a stereotype among base conservative voters.
That said, Chuck Todd's argument is that these Republican respondents aren't stupid enough to think Obama is a Muslim, they're just hateful enough to associate him with a religion they despise.
Fair enough. It's a theory. But it's easy to criticize. Why doesn't Todd deploy his news organization's polling arm to further explore the question?
He can design the perfect question to determine, once and for all, whether Republican voters in Alabama and Mississippi are stupid and ignorant, or merely hateful.
Then Todd can tell us which of those two stereotypes is the right one.