Former Clinton press secretary George Stephanopolous reads the exit polls, and then comes up with a bizarre conclusion:
We did ask a question I know in the exit polls about Reverend Wright, Barack Obama’s former pastor and whether that was influencing voters. What did we find? Right down the middle. About half said it’s important, about half said it was unimportant. Of those who said it was important, look at this in Indiana, 70% went for Senator Clinton. Of those who thought it was unimportant, again right down the middle, 65% for Barack Obama. So what you thought about the importance of Reverend Wright basically determined your vote.Wow, that's some pretty seriously flawed logic there. It's as if he's straining to justify his network's obsession with the issue by once again inflating its importance.
First of all, you have a clear majority of voters who consistently say that Wright will not affect their vote at all (77% of those who lean Democratic say that it has absolutely no affect whatsoever on their vote). Therefore, to say that "what you thought about the importance of Reverend Wright basically determined your vote" assigns way too much importance to the issue in the first place. Second of all, to take a correlation and turn it into a causation is just plain bad logic. Perhaps the people who thought it was one relevant factor in the decision-making process had other reasons to vote the way they did. There are, after all, issues out there besides pastors and flag pins (health care, the war in Iraq, gas taxes, etc.). Third, even the data that Stephanoplous uses as his justification is pretty weak stuff. 65% of the Indianans responding to the survey who thought Wright was not important went for Obama, and we're supposed to assume that this was a determining factor? 70% of the Indianans responding to the survey who thought Wright was somewhat important went for Clinton and we're supposed to assume that this was THE deciding factor for them? Couldn't it be that those who were already predisposed to vote for Clinton were more likely to say that her opponent's scandal was a big deal?
This chart from Gallup perhaps explains the situation a little more clearly: