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A full-page ad in Tuesday's New York Times questions the truth of a Gallup poll that showed George W. Bush in the lead by 14 points. The ad, by MoveOn.org, accused Gallup of being way off-base, compared to other polls, which averaged only a three-point Bush lead.

"This isn't the first time the prestigious Gallup survey has been out on a limb with pro-Bush findings," according to the ad. Gallup predicts that more Republicans will vote in November than Democrats. Exit polls show more Democrats will vote, says MoveOn, and George Gallup Jr., son of the poll's founder, refuses to fix his faulty methodology. "What's going on here?" asks MoveOn.

Well, you see, Gallup knows the influence its polls wield, MoveOn says. If the public perceives one candidate to be winning, more voters will side with the winning candidate. Journalists cover the polls, pundits comment on them, and the public is fooled into thinking Bush will win. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. But why does Gallup want Bush to win?

MoveOn suggests it's all because Gallup Jr. "is a devout evangelical Christian." Gasp!

Gallup "has been quoted as calling his polling 'a kind of ministry.' And a few months ago, he said 'the most profound purpose of polls is to see how people are responding to God,'" the ad says. "We thought the purpose [of polling] is to faithfully and factually report public opinion."

Never mind that nearly any job a Christian performs can be considered "a kind of ministry," and never mind that Gallup is now retired and not conducting polls. Forget that Gallup heads a separate non profit, and he uses it, not political polling, to learn "how people are responding to God." MoveOn tries to discredit Gallup simply by alleging sinister ties to evangelical Christianity. ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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