CNN used coffee klatch at Baltimore diner to challenge its own poll


On the January 4 edition of CNN's American Morning, CNN national correspondent Bob Franken set out to determine what "the voters think" by talking with four customers in Baltimore's Sip & Bite diner, who he said were "real crabby about [the new] Congress." Franken contrasted their opinions with the results of CNN's own national poll showing that most respondents were optimistic about the new Congress.

The segment juxtaposed the casual interview with a CNN poll conducted by Opinion Research Corp. from December 15-17, which found that 61 percent of Americans think Democratic control of Congress will be good for the country. The poll surveyed 1,019 adults nationwide and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Nevertheless, host Soledad O'Brien introduced the segment by suggesting that Franken would answer the question "What do the voters think?" and that Franken was "[t]aking the pulse" of voters.

Franken's segment was replayed during the 11 a.m. hour of the January 4 edition of CNN Newsroom.

From the January 4 edition of CNN's American Morning:

O'BRIEN: So what about the folks who put this new Congress in office? What do the voters think? American Morning's Bob Franken is in Baltimore this morning. Good morning to you, Bob. Kind of taking the pulse and having a little breakfast?

FRANKEN: Indeed. In Washington, the stories about Congress are selling like hotcakes. But here at the Sip & Bite in Baltimore, 40 miles from Washington, it's really worlds away from Washington.

FRANKEN (off camera): They're supposed to have some of the best crabcakes in Baltimore here at the Sip & Bite diner, which is really saying something. What they definitely do have is customers who are real crabby about Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It's like they're puppets in the Congress. I don't know. It's like they're --

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yes. And we don't know who is controlling all of them.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yeah. It's just kind of bizarre.

FRANKEN: Whichever party?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: When they're both in.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I don't even think it's even a party.

FRANKEN: Our table included an administrative assistant, truck mechanic, the owner of a real-estate agency, and a clerk. While a CNN/Opinion Research poll found that 61 percent of those surveyed expect the Democratic takeover will be good for Congress, our Sip & Bite diners weren't so sure.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Well, when the Democrats lost the House, everybody was tired of Democrats, so they thought Republicans can do it --

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And they would make a difference.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: -- and they would make a difference. So Republicans in for 12 years, and so now the Democrats come back around. So it's going to go back in the same cycle. Democrats will stay in for eight, 12 years. They'll screw up. Republicans will say, "We can do better," and people will vote them in.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That's been going on for over 200 years.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And that's true.

FRANKEN: What about corruption? Will it be any better under the Democrats than it was under the Republicans? Our polls show that 49 percent say it would make no difference. The Sip & Bite commentators agree.

FRANKEN: Do you feel that the Democrats are going to be any less corrupt?



UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: They've been corrupt for years.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I feel that they're all corrupt.

FRANKEN (on camera): The feeling here seems to reflect the feeling in the country that people are going to cut the Democrats some slack. But not much, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Yep, that's what it looks like. Bob Franken for us this morning. Thank you, Bob. Hope you're enjoying your breakfast. John.

JOHN ROBERTS (senior national correspondent): Looks pretty good from where I'm sitting.

Posted In
Government, The House of Representatives
Bob Franken
American Morning
2006 Elections, Polling
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