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Published: Wednesday, 9/1/2004

Swift vote veterans at the poll

Imagine my surprise.

The August 21st daily online poll on toledoblade.com stated: "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have questioned John Kerry s Vietnam War record. Do you agree or disagree with them?"

Normally an online poll on toledoblade.com will fetch between 400 to 800 votes.

This August 21st poll clocked in at 3,341 votes.

Saturdays are normally slow days for newspaper Web sites. Many readers check headlines from their desk at work Monday through Friday. Their habits are different on Saturday.

So what s up with 3,341 responses for this online poll?

The poll was hijacked and then mud wrestled between several political message boards and blogs including the DemocraticUnderground.com.

The daily online poll on toledoblade.com is decidedly unscientific. Each time a person logs on to toledoblade.com they record a pageview and can also record a vote in the online poll. Most polls are created to mirror something in The Blade s headlines that day. Often, the weekend polls are lighter, highlighting sports or entertainment items.

They are not the Gallup poll with a plus-or-minus 3-percent margin of error.

Readers from all over the planet can vote in the poll, whether they reside in The Blade s circulation area or live considerably outside that area Canada, Europe, etc. We have several thousand unique visitors to our site each day IP addresses that have not visited toledoblade.com before.

We like to challenge readers with a topic that they care about, but please don t bet the farm on the outcome or use the results to backstop a campaign.

Remember, just like the small print on the video poker machine or the deck of cards: "For amusement purposes only."

So I would hate to have to resort to flattening the questions completely.

What is your favorite vegetable? Potato, Carrot, Broccoli.

What is your favorite kitchen utensil? Spoon, Fork, Butter knife.

What is your favorite color? Blue, Yellow, Red, Green.

Just so you know: Potato, spoon, and green.

Incidentally, the Swift Boat results were 53.4 percent Yes, 45.7 percent No, and 0.9 percent Not sure.

The court-martial trial of Ryan G. Anderson began this week in Fort Lewis, Washington. Spc. Anderson is a 27-year-old Muslim convert, who is charged with five counts of trying to give aid and intelligence to people he believed to be members of the al-Qaida terrorist network.

The Blade ran a wire story on its Saturday technology page earlier this summer about Shannen Rossmiller, a city judge in Montana, who contacted Anderson after discovering a posting in October on a Muslim-oriented Web site she was monitoring for signs of extremist or terrorist activity. Rossmiller contacted the Homeland Security Department, which put her in touch with the FBI.

Anderson was arrested in February just before his National Guard unit was to ship out to Iraq. He faces life in prison without the possibility of release if convicted.

Only 53 days remaining before the Oct. 24 Detroit Free Press Marathon. Week 11 includes a 12-mile Sunday run before Week 12 s wet weather sent us to the treadmill several times to complete midweek segments.

We re looking forward to Toledo s Sept. 19 Race for the Cure. The 5K timed-run will be a blissful trot after 15 and 18-mile runs to wrap up Weeks 13 and 14.

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