Etch-a-Sketch Mania!

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 27 2012 3:41 PM

Etch-a-Sketch Mania!

The weekly Pew survey of news asks about awareness of the Romney campaign's "etch-a-sketch" moment. "Just more than four-in-ten (44%) say they heard about the remark," we learn. Chris Cillizza is unimpressed.

The numbers serve as a reminder — for the umpteenth time — that simply because 100 percent of people who do politics for a living (the Fix included) are closely following a story, it’s no guarantee that the story is penetrating nearly as broadly among the general public.

Really? This strikes me as entirely wrong. (And Cillizza does on-the-other-hand the point later in his item.) Forty-four percent awareness of a comment made by 1) a spokesman, not a candidate, asked on 2) a cable news morning show by a 3) stand-up comic? That's enormous. If you ask 20 random people whether they heard about Romney and the etch-a-sketch, nine of them will say yes. I don't think you could get that many people to tell you who the Treasury Secretary is. Hell, a poll from two months ago revealed that 44 percent of people had no idea what Mitt Romney's first name was. I don't know how repeatable the mania will be, because it was helped along by Gingrich, Santorum, AND the Democrats, and only one of these entities will end up facing Romney. But it got around!

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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