Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)
TITLE: Spin Doctor
By Carol Slider
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Good news! The latest polling data shows that you lead your opponent by a comfortable margin of 12 percent. This suggests that the allegations of your ex-wife are no longer of concern to the average voter. Our campaign slogan (<i>Rob Peeples: A Name You Can Trust!</i>) resonates well with the public. There can be no doubt that we are on the road to a decisive victory...
My Dear Rob:
The colorful language you used in our phone conversation this morning suggests that you follow the polls too closely. I am well aware that you have lost 20 percentage points, and are now trailing your opponent. I do not deny this is a serious setback.
Please keep in mind that political polls are an unreliable combination of opinion, guesswork and statistical magic. Survey participants can be influenced by breaking news (such as the revelations about your involvement in the Amalgamated Iron and Glass bankruptcy) rather than by how they really feel about you as a candidate.
It is grossly unfair to say I should have anticipated how your opponent might distort your campaign slogan. “<i>Rob Peeples: A name you can trust... to pick your pockets</i>” is extremely mean-spirited. Fortunately, <i>we</i> can win without stooping to slanderous rhetoric...
I hope that the last three weeks have proven to you that we cannot rely on polls to predict the outcome of this election. You have pulled ahead of your opponent by several percentage points, and this is very good news indeed. I believe that you will continue to widen this margin in the next month.
It was not easy to convince I. M. Breibabal to change his story about your part in the Amalgamated scandal. You may not agree with my solution—but you rarely visited your Grand Cayman condo, anyway...
What you call a “downward trend” is actually only a minor fluctuation. Polls have an error margin of plus or minus a few percentage points. This alone may account for the fact that your numbers have dipped slightly below those of your opponent.
I do not blame you for the regrettable things you said yesterday. Perhaps you are still angry at me for giving away a property you used primarily as a tax shelter. But let me assure you that if I had not acted as I did, you would not now be biting at your opponent’s heels.
Please trust that I have assessed the situation carefully and am preparing to take action. I still believe that you will not just edge out your opponent, but defeat him by a landslide...
I hope you will finally admit that you were wrong to doubt me. Two days until the election, and even the media admit that your opponent is finished. This morning’s Gallup poll shows you will defeat him by a margin of 15 percent. Congratulations!
We have been fortunate. Who would have believed that the “Family Values Candidate” would be caught checking into an isolated bed and breakfast inn under an assumed name, in the company of a mysterious blonde? But we would not have gotten that footage without constant surveillance, so I believe I deserve some credit.
I look forward to celebrating with you on election night...
I know this is a difficult time for you, but I am shocked and hurt by the things you said to me after your concession speech yesterday evening. You accused me of working for your opponent as a sort of double agent. I will overlook this slander, and assure you that I was as stunned as you to learn that your opponent had merely sneaked away for a romantic rendezvous with his wife. How could I have guessed that a platinum wig could change the woman’s appearance so much?
Though I know you were distressed to lose by a 35-percent margin, I am quite sure you did not mean what you said yesterday evening, when you threatened to “ruin and expose” me. Let me remind you that the right incentives might persuade Mr. Breibabal to reveal how he acquired his new vacation home. But let us look forward, not backward. I am already mapping out a strategy for your political future, which I hope will meet with your approval.
Here’s to 2010!
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