Point of View

I was talking the other day with my colleague, Bruce Johnson, about movies. Here’s some insight into the world of a working journalist, if you’re in a car driving around the state of Wisconsin for hours and hours, the conversation does not simply stay on work-related subjects.

After conversations of kids, schools and different ways we’d rule the world if we were in charge, we came to the topic of films and this declarative sentence from my photographer friend. “The scene in Casablanca, inside Rick’s bar, where Victor Laszlo has the band play the Marseillaise, drowning out the Germans singing their anthem is the best in cinematic history.”

He likely was more eloquent, but since I was driving and I have three kids under the age of 5, my memory is somewhat spotty. However, I’ve followed up with him and the reason for his passion comes from the point of view taken by the director in each of the screen shots. One character’s tight shot looks toward another group of characters looking a third way toward yet another group of characters and so on.

It makes you feel as if you’re watching in 3-D when, in reality, that technology was decades away. If you like the film at all, you’ll remember this scene.

You’re likely wondering what, if anything, Casablanca has to do with Here and Now. The reason that came back to mind yesterday was because of Bruce’s phrase, “point of view” and particularly because of yesterday’s Marquette University Law School Poll that showed Gov. Scott Walker seven points ahead of Tom Barrett.

However, here’s what fascinated me about the poll and it had nothing to do with next week’s contest. Questions 5 and 6 were the same, but with different names attached to them.

Question 5 was: “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?”

Question 6 was: “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way Scott Walker is handling his job as Governor of Wisconsin?”

Of the 720 people who answered Question 5, 372 or 52 percent said they approved of the President. Of the 721 people who answered Question 6, 371 or 51 percent said they approved of the Governor.

So, in this state that we increasingly describe as politically volatile and angry, there is a roughly equal favorability rating for arguably the most polarizing Democrat in the country and arguably the most polarizing Republican in the country.

Frankly, a poll like this buoys my view of this state, one I’ve always described to those who live elsewhere as independent-minded in its thinking. There are people who are not doing as they’re told by their party bosses represented in this survey and it’sĀ  fascinating.

That’s my point of view.

It’s open to challenge and if you ask those who know me best, they would say it’s most likely warped.

Speaking of point of view, I’m not sure I agree with Bruce about his favorite Casablanca scene as I’m more partial to this one. But again, people would say, I, like Rick, am “misinformed.”

A final note for you here. I’ve been asked at a number of my Fact Check 101 interactive workshops about polling, specifically how it works. Now, the irony of asking someone who took Statistics pass/fail in the second semester of his senior year in college with graduation on the line escapes them, if not me. However, visiting Marquette University Prof. CharlesĀ  Franklin, who runs the law school’s polling, gave a nice description that you can find here about methodology and what people ought to look for when he announced his latest survey results. Go to around 48:33 on the timeline for the conversation.


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