Polling the stuff that really matters

Forget the Presidential race and the state of Harris County’s partisan mix. This is the kind of polling people want.

As the question of whether Roger Clemens or Brian McNamee is telling the truth about Clemens’ alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs inches closer to a potential court date, Harris County’s court of public opinion rates the matter as a statistical dead heat.

Of 604 respondents to a Houston Chronicle poll of Harris County voters conducted by Zogby International, 35.5 percent said they were more likely to believe McNamee, Clemens’ former trainer, when he said he injected Clemens with anabolic steroids and human growth hormone. Clemens was supported by 32.8 percent, and 31.7 percent had no response.

Would “Do I look like I care?” count as a no response?

57 percent of respondents to a recent national Gallup Poll said they believed Clemens was lying, while 31 percent said they believed he was telling the truth. Also, 79.3 percent of more than 94,000 respondents to an ESPN.com reader poll believed McNamee.

In Boston, where Clemens began his career, only 8.2 percent of respondents to a survey by Boston.com said they believed the pitcher, and in New York, where Clemens played last season, 79 percent of respondents to a Daily News poll said they believed McNamee.

Given the previous numbers, Rusty Hardin, Clemens’ attorney, said he was encouraged by the Harris County poll results.

“The fact that it’s half and half, I believe, is great,” Hardin said. “This side has endured the most frenetic, meanest assault on a public person that I’ve ever seen, and the fact that a third of the people are willing to believe him and a third haven’t formed an opinion is tremendously encouraging.”

I’m thinking that some day, Roger Clemens is going to wonder why the hell he testified in front of Congress. It hasn’t exactly worked out for him, has it? I have the same problems I’ve always had with the Mitchell Report and Brian McNamee, and I still believe the whole so-called PED issue is way overblown, but boy howdy was that a bad move on Clemens’ part. Too late to worry about it now, I guess.

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