PPP's Traffic-Baiting Stephen Colbert Poll

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 10 2012 2:48 PM

What PPP's Traffic-Baiting Colbert Poll Tells Us About Who Will Be South Carolina's Next Senator

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TV personality Stephen Colbert promotes 'America Again: Re-becoming The Greatness We Never Weren't' at Barnes & Noble Union Square on October 2, 2012 in New York City

Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images.

The pollster over at Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling sure know how to take advantage of a slow news cycle:

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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As traffic-baiting as those numbers are, they don't really mean anything. First off, there's absolutely no chance that Republican Gov. Nikki Haley would tap Stephen Colbert to fill DeMint's soon-to-be vacant Senate seat—even if such a move would, in the words of PPP President Dean Debnam, "score some points with the Democrats and independent voters she’s struggling with."

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Second off, the poll appears to have been pretty much rigged to provide PPP with the results it was looking for so it could blast out the news under a headline of "Colbert tops SC voters’ Senate appointment wish list." Colbert's the only liberal on a list dominated by conservatives with considerably lower profiles and name recognition, meaning that the GOP vote (which makes up the majority of the dark-red state) was spread out among the rest of the field.

Here's what the list looks like after Colbert is removed from the equation:

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And then once we go ahead and take out the Sanfords:

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That leaves Rep. Tim Scott as the most popular choice among those politicians actually under consideration. Meanwhile, while PPP was distracting everyone with the promise of Sen. Colbert, Scott's already strong chances of getting the seat grew stronger still Monday when Haley suggested that she has no plans to name a temporary placeholder to serve until 2014, a move that would appear to take Henry McMaster out of the running. Scott was the early leader in the club house to get the free ride to the Senate, and nothing that's happened since has changed that.

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

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