Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Lies, Damned Lies, and Polls

It just doesn't add up

Sergio Bendixen on the right seated with Carlos Saladrigas on the left
Once again Bendixen & Amandi International are peddling a poll in the media that purports that there is a generational divide in the Cuban exile community over the new U.S. Cuba policy announced by the Obama Administration. Bendixen has been called to account time and time again for having numbers that do not add up but always favor the anti-embargo position. The pollster has gone on record in his advocacy of remittances in Cuba showing that he has a dog in this race. 

Another outfit with a dubious record are the Cuba polls conducted by Florida International University (FIU) that have been sponsored by the Brookings Institution, the Cuba Study Group, the Christopher Reynolds Foundation and the Ford Foundation. All of these groups lobby heavily in favor of unconditionally lifting the U.S. embargo on the Castro dictatorship. In 2014 the FIU poll was paid for by The Trimpa Group and George Soros' Open Society Foundation

In an interview on Saturday a journalist asked my thoughts on the latest Bendixen poll trying to sell the idea that there is a generational divide and that the youth are against maintaining sanctions on Cuba. The response to the question: Stated clearly that their polls have a bias and therefore don't pay them any attention. Journalists should consider questioning pollsters and not accepting at face value what they are peddling.

Here is the reason why. Bendixen back in 2008 said Lincoln Diaz-Balart was supposedly statistically tied with Raul Martinez, 41 to 37 percent in July. On October 23, 2008 The Miami New Times wrote a lengthy article by Francisco Alvarado titled: "End of the Diaz-Balart Dynasty: The Republican brothers are headed for defeat, and Cuban-American politics will change forever." Letters to the editor followed up reaffirming the previous weeks article on the political demise of the Diaz-Balart brothers and then election day and both were re-elected. On election day: Lincoln Diaz Balart won with 57.90% to Raul Martinez's 42.10%. Martinez had campaigned about loosening the embargo not ending it. There has yet to be a Cuban American congressman or Senator that has been elected anywhere who is against maintaining the Embargo. This position transcends party allegiance and ideology. 

The bottom line a polling outfit can get whatever response they want depending on the wording of their questions, but the fact remains that on election day in precincts where the overwhelming numbers are Cuban Americans they strongly vote for pro-Embargo candidates.

One fundamental question comes to mind in all this "news" about polls supporting the president's actions on Cuba: Why did he wait until after the 2014 mid term election to act? With a Democratic Senate, President Obama could nominate the new US ambassador to Cuba, but now with a Republican Senate in 2015 that nomination can be blocked. What this says is that despite all the hype and bogus push polls when it came to the only poll that counts, the vote on Election Day they blinked.

Meanwhile the arguments of the current Obama policy continue to flow in from all quarters and are worth checking out: The Washington Post's Jackson Diehl, andThe Wall Street Journal's Mary O'Grady should be read.

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