Could Barack Obama's paparazzi end up being the undoing of his presidential chances? According to a recently released poll by the Pew Research Center, when asked the question, "How much have you been hearing about Barack Obama?" 48 percent selected the response "too much." Even 34 percent of Democrats agreed they were hearing "too much." These numbers compare to just 26 percent of the general public who say they have heard too much about John McCain, while 38 percent say they have not heard enough about the Arizona Senator. Even 26 percent of Democrats say they have heard "too little" about McCain.
Pew's "Summary of Findings," which can be found here, observes: "By a margin of 76% to 11% respondents in Pew's weekly News Interest Index survey named Obama over McCain as the candidate they have heard the most about in recent days. But the same poll also shows that the Democratic candidate's media dominance may not be working in his favor."
On Friday's Countdown, during the show's "Worst Person in the World" segment, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann tried to characterize the ratings of his show as more admirable than than those of FNC's highly watched O'Reilly Factor by narrowly citing viewing figures among younger demographics. Olbermann, who has a history of quoting the viewing figures for those 25-54 years old -- citing their value to advertisers -- to make himself appear more competitive with O'Reilly, on this occasion dismissively referred to older viewers as "65 to dead." Olbermann: "But don't worry, Bill, you're still dominating that important demographic, 65 to dead." Notably, in June 2006, Olbermann gloated that O'Reilly's viewers are "dying off."
And, although Olbermann vaguely claimed that Bill O'Reilly "crows about the ratings and then gets them wrong again," the MSNBC host in no way contradicted O'Reilly's numbers as Olbermann merely cited the statistics for the specific younger demographics, which did not disprove anything the FNC host stated.
TVNewser reported on the July figures: ""The top rated program was again The O'Reilly Factor at 8pmET(2,252,000 viewer average). For MSNBC, the top program was Countdown with Keith Olbermann at 8pmET in 9th place (959,000) and for CNN it was Larry King Live tied for 10th (940,000)." The TVNewser report can be seen here. (Transcript follows)
Just days after a Rasmussen Reports survey was released showing more than three times as many likely voters “believe most reporters will try to help Obama with their coverage” than help John McCain, a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll taken July 22-23 of 900 registered voters discovered six times as many think “most member of the media” want Obama to win than wish for a McCain victory. On Thursday's Special Report, FNC's Brit Hume relayed: “67 percent of the respondents think most media members want Obama to win. Just 11 percent think most in the media are for McCain.”
A FoxNews.com article added this damning finding: “Only about 1 in 10 (11 percent) volunteers the belief that the media is neutral on the race to become the 44th President of the United States.” Those polled recognize the tilt in action: “When asked to rate the objectivity of media coverage of the campaigns, Americans feel Obama gets more of a positive spin by a better than 7-to-1 margin (46 percent more positive toward Obama; 6 percent more positive toward McCain).”
More than three times as many Americans see a media tilt in favor of Democrat Barack Obama than toward Republican John McCain. A Rasmussen Reports telephone survey released Monday, of 1,000 likely voters, “found that 49 percent of voters believe most reporters will try to help Obama with their coverage, up from 44 percent a month ago,” compared to a piddling 14 percent who “believe most reporters will try to help John McCain win” while “just one voter in four (24%) believes that most reporters will try to offer unbiased coverage.”
Exactly half, 50 percent, “believe the media makes economic conditions appear worse than they really are,” a separate Rasmussen Reports telephone survey posted on Monday determined. That poll discovered “a plurality of Americans (41%) similarly believe that the media has tried to make the war in Iraq appear worse that it really is, while 26 percent say reporters have made it look better than reality and 25 percent think they’ve portrayed it accurately.”
Time magazine Managing Editor Richard Stengel told the hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on July 17 that "there's incredible despair out there and there's a sense that, that something needs to be done and people have kind of an appetite for big government in a way" in America.
Stengel was citing a new poll, but the interview did not discuss the fact that the poll also found 80 percent of respondents said they should be responsible for carrying their own financial burdens.
The poll was a joint effort of Time magazine and the Rockefeller Foundation, an organization Stengel characterized as "on a mission themselves to help the American worker and find out about the economy."
Could that be political?
"If you say that favors Barack Obama, maybe it does, I don't know," Stengel said.
Yes, it's unscientific and it is a Web poll, so it should be taken with a grain of salt, but a Time.com survey today finds 61 percent of respondents think that, yes, America is a nation of whiners.
The screen grab at right was taken shortly before 12:45 p.m. EDT. Around 12:30, when I first saw the poll, the numbers were similar: 60-40.
Here's how the question was worded: "As Phil Gramm suggests, is America a 'nation of whiners'?"
I'd suggest a follow up Web poll: "Is the mainstream media collectively a profession of whiners?" For more on that, see my colleague Scott Whitlock's post on how the media refuse to take responsibility for their role in hyping doom and gloom to make America's economic woes seem worse than they objectively are.
Once again, it appears media and Democrats are on the wrong side of public opinion, as a new poll released Tuesday shows Americans more interested in expanding oil drilling to solve the current energy crisis than additional conservation measures.
In fact, "[a]n increasing proportion also says that developing new sources of energy - rather than protecting the environment - is the more important national priority."
I kid you not.
Grab some popcorn, supply-siders, for this survey by the Pew Research Center is guaranteed to put a smile on your face (emphasis added throughout, chart above courtesy Pew):
On Sunday evening, ABC and CBS presented opposite views on whether racism by white voters will hurt Barack Obama on election day, as each network cited its own polling data. On ABC's World News Sunday, referring to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, anchor Dan Harris reported that "race does not appear to be a major factor," although he qualified that contention by pausing and adding, "right now." But on the CBS Evening News, correspondent Randall Pinkston more pessimistically referred to the "Bradley Effect," the theory that white voters sometimes lie to pollsters about their willingness to vote for a black candidate. Pinkston also found: "In a recent CBS News poll, for white voters who say race is a factor in their presidential choice, McCain leads Obama by nearly 20 points. It's a major problem for Obama with no easy solution." But it is also notable that while both reports focused on the possibility that racism by some white voters might hurt Obama, neither report examined black voters who might choose not to vote for a white candidate out of racism toward whites. (Transcripts follow)
Although the results of a new poll may not be surprising to NewsBusters readers, it is nonetheless shocking to actually see it in print: 68 percent of Americans "believe most reporters try to help the candidate that they want to win."
Even more predictable given how obvious it's been, a majority of respondents also felt Barack Obama has gotten the best press coverage so far during the campaign.
Such are the findings of a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey just announced moments ago (emphasis added throughout):
Once again, the New York Times is expecting American taxpayers to care not only about the plight of illegal immigrants, but on the hardship imposed on their families back in Latin America because of the fitful U.S. crackdown on illegal immigration.
Well, despite Nobel Laureate Al Gore's massive campaign to scare the world into thinking the planet is facing imminent doom at the hands of global warming, Americans don't seem to be buying it.
In fact, a new Gallup poll released moments ago revealed, "a little more than a third say they worry about [global warming] a great deal, a percentage that is roughly the same as the one Gallup measured 19 years ago."
Here are the exquisitely delicious details (emphasis added):
Can you predict a person's politics based on the food they eat? Yes, according to the New York Times:
If there’s butter and white wine in your refrigerator and Fig Newtons in the cookie jar, you’re likely to vote for Hillary Clinton. Prefer olive oil, Bear Naked granola and a latte to go? You probably like Barack Obama, too. And if you’re leaning toward John McCain, it’s all about kicking back with a bourbon and a stuffed crust pizza while you watch the Democrats fight it out next week in Pennsylvania.
If what we eat says a lot about who we are, it also says something about how we might vote.
Although precincts and polls are being parsed, the political advisers to the presidential candidates are also looking closely at consumer behavior, including how people eat, as a way to scavenge for votes. The practice is called microtargeting, as much political discipline as buzzword. The idea is that in the brand-driven United States, what we buy and how we spend our free time is a good predictor of our politics.
One constant refrain in media coverage of papal visits is the insistence that the Pope is out of touch with American Catholics. The front page of Tuesday's Washington Post promsied a story on how "Pope Benedict XVI will confront a sense among some Catholics that the Roman Catholic Church is not in sync with their views." A bar graph showed a poll result:
Q. In general do you think the Roman Catholic Church is in touch the views of Catholics in America today, or out of touch? (Among Catholics)
NOW: In touch 34 % / Out of touch 62 %
APRIL 2005: In touch 44 % / Out of touch 52 %
But you'd have to turn to the 14th and very last paragraph of Jon Cohen's story on Page A-6 to learn this poll has a whopping margin of error of six points plus or minus:
Does CNN's Miles O'Brien cherrypick poll data? Apparently so.
I thought Newsbusters readers might be interested in an early peek at this forthcoming piece by David Ridenour of the National Center for Public Policy Research (full disclosure: I work there and I'm married to him) in which O'Brien is shown doing just that in the cause of smearing global warming so-called "skeptics" and the conservative Heartland Institute.
CNN's Miles O'Brien recently asserted that the Heartland Institute "desperately wants us to believe" there's a conspiracy to distort information about global warming.
The New York Times's attempt to insinuate a romantic relationship between John McCain and a lobbyist has apparently backfired. In a poll released today by Rasmussen Reports, the American public holds a strongly negative view of the story and of the paper that released it:
Just 24% of American voters have a favorable opinion of the New York Times. Forty-four percent (44%) have an unfavorable opinion and 31% are not sure. The paper’s ratings are much like a candidate’s and divide sharply along partisan and ideological lines.
By a 50% to 18% margin, liberal voters have a favorable opinion of the paper. By a 69% to 9%, conservative voters offer an unfavorable view. The newspaper earns favorable reviews from 44% of Democrats, 9% of Republicans, and 17% of those not affiliated with either major political story.
Just prior to Super Tuesday, a Rasmussen poll placed John McCain 6 points ahead of Barack Obama. Republican voters then gave McCain enough Super Tuesday victories to drive Mitt Romney out of the race in the belief that McCain was the more electable. John McCain has always positioned himself as the candidate that could most appeal to moderates and independents.
Now that John McCain is virtually assured of the nomination, the polls have reversed themselves, claiming that Obama is six points ahead of McCain. The earlier poll showing McCain in the lead served its purpose. McCain is nearly certain to be the nominee. Mission accomplished.
The polls can now revert to normal and begin giving Obama the early lead so that the "independents" know which way to follow.
On Tuesday's Lou Dobbs Tonight, which was repeated on Sunday, CNN host Dobbs chided the media for not including illegal immigration in exit polls of Democratic voters simply because Democratic candidates have avoided discussing the issue to prevent, according to Bill Schneider, "stirring up a lot of passion," and relayed that he had pressured CNN into including the issue in other polling two years ago. Dobbs: "Would it surprise you if I were to tell you right here in front of God and everybody I had to convince CNN a couple of years ago to include illegal immigration in a poll because we didn't even in this organization believe it was an important issue, some of us didn't?" He even got Schneider to agree with his contention that the media's "complicity with that motive" of the Democratic candidates in ignoring the issue should "bring a sense of shame to these [media] organizations." (Transcript follows)
During MSNBC's live New Hampshire primary night coverage, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw warned that poll results getting ahead of the voters could turn the public against the media, but then blamed the inaccurate polling on how “people probably are not as honest with pollsters.” Chris Matthews, who urged an “inquest” on the polls which all had Barack Obama well ahead of Hillary Clinton in the Granite state when Clinton actually won, saw “an ethnic factor here.” Matthews extrapolated on his theory involving “Archie Bunker,” the bigoted 1970s TV character:
I've always thought that pollers, people, pollsters who call people up and ask them how they're going to vote, speak in perfect English, and standard English, they speak with a kind of a politically correct manner and it encourages a politically correct answer. I've often thought that if an Archie Bunker voice were to come over the phone, and ask people how they're going to vote, you'd get a more honest answer.
During the 11pm EST hour, Brokaw warned: “I think that the people out there are going to begin to make judgments about us -- if they haven't already -- if we don't begin to temper that temptation to constantly try to get ahead of what the voters are deciding...” He soon, however, blamed the voters: “I think people probably are not as honest with pollsters when they get called anymore because they're called constantly and they do change their minds. We're in a culture now, Chris, in which attention spans are very short, which people make quick decisions and change them equally quickly.”
On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd disclosed thatthe media was poised to take a third-place McCain finish there and use it to catapult him to victory in New Hampshire. McCain actually finished fourth in Iowa, but on Good Morning America today we saw a perfect example of the phenomenon Todd predicted.
ABC declared that McCain is "surging," "rising in the polls," may have "the most momentum," used "The Mac Is Back" as its screen graphic, and portrayed Mitt Romney in a highly unflattering light. There was only one small problem with ABC's depiction of a McCain surge: the latest poll numbers from the organization that nailed the Iowa results . . . reveal that McCain slipped in the polls overnight and lost ground to Mitt Romney.
What must be the most ridiculous claim of the night's Iowa caucus coverage came on CNN when political analyst Bill Schneider argued that because only 16 percent of Democrats who showed up to caucus call themselves "very liberal," that these Democrats are "pretty moderate voters," but that Republican voters are "very conservative." Schneider based his claims simply on how voters chose to identify themselves for CNN's entrance poll of those who arrived to caucus: "The Democrats are moderate. Only about 16 percent of them call themselves 'very liberal.' There's a cliche that only liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans show up. That's half true. Republicans are very conservative. Almost half of them say they are 'very conservative.' But Democrats are pretty moderate voters." (Transcript follows)
As you’ve already been told a thousand times, with only a day to go before the Iowa caucuses, the polls are showing a statistical three-way tie between Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards atop the Democratic field, and a similarly close two-way race between Republicans Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney.
But the polls are probably wrong. Or maybe they’re right -- we won’t really know until Thursday night when the actual results are announced. And that’s the problem -- the media have given the polls so much emphasis that the actual results will only matter to the extent that they differ from the media’s pre-election expectations, i.e., only to the extent that this week’s polls are inaccurate.
In just the last month, RealClearPolitics has posted the results of 55 pre-Iowa caucus polls (27 for the Republicans, 28 for the Democrats). These are mostly media-generated polls, with a few conducted by universities. It’s because of these polls that reporters think they know who is and is not a frontrunner, who is and is not rising and/or falling, and who is and is not hopelessly behind.
Rosie O'Donnell may have been one of Time's 100 Most Influential People, but now she is 2007's Most Annoying Celebrity. The woman who surprised blacksmiths everywhere when she claimed that fire can't melt steel trounced her competition in the Parade.com poll, getting 44% of the vote, nearly double the amount of second place winner Paris Hilton. Ann Coulter was third.
The woman who admitted that she's so gullible, she's “five seconds away” from joining a cult, also outed herself as a 9/11 Truther and floated several conspiracies. She doesn't think Al Qaeda is a threat--hey, they're mommies and daddies, too!
But she knows who the real bad guys are. She called the US a state sponsor of terror and equated the military with terrorists. She claimed the captured British sailors were really part of a “false flag” operation (“Google it!”), and Ahmadinejad isn't all that bad. Don't worry, she is concerned about terrorists. She thinks the US is robbing 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed of his humanity by labeling him a “terrorist.” (Her sneer quotes, not mine.)
Here are some of the quotes that helped Rosie win her new title (bold mine):
Don't fear the terrorists. They’re mothers and fathers-11-09-07
As we point out on a daily basis, the MSM is heavily left leaning and biased. But this isn't the MSM's only failing. They are also extremely lazy, leftist or not, and take little time to really think about the news nor do any research about what they are reporting. Take this UPI report for instance: "Political videos not reaching Web viewers." In this one, the UPI is claiming that political video on the web isn't "reaching Web viewers" and that it isn't the "ideal way" for candidates to reach voters, but the story itself does not satisfactorily prove such a conclusion at all. When compared to the percentage of actual voting adults, for instance, the penetration might be quite favorable toward political videos reaching those they are aimed at. So, why report it as a negative? Because they neither employed reason nor research while writing their article, that's why.
The decline in bad news from Iraq is bound to improve the president’s poll ratings, right? But if it does, will you find the story? The Washington Post reported on its latest poll with ABC News in a story Friday headlined "Poll Shows More Optimism on War: After Record Lows, Bush Gains With Republicans, Independents." The Post placed it on page A-18.
Liberal activity was more important news. On A-3, we learned New Jersey voted to ban the death penalty. On A-7, the House passed a bill to ban harsh interrogations by the CIA. On A-8, Pat Leahy and the Senate Judiciary Committee declared Karl Rove and Josh Bolten in contempt of Congress.
Perhaps, just like the death tolls in Iraq, the Post will need to find several months of improving polls before it’s "real news." Reporters Jennifer Agiesta and Jon Cohen diligently recounted that the polling news is still gloomy on the war being a mistake that needs to be ended, but:
That Hillary Clinton -- such a prankster! Yes, if there's one thing Hillary is known for, it's her great sense of humor and light touch. So when she included Barack Obama's statements as a third-grader and kindergartner in her press release for purposes of demonstrating he was lying when he said he hadn't long harbored presidential ambitions, we should have all realized it was just one more of Hillary's rib-ticklers. Too bad that gullible old MSM let itself get spun.
That in essence is what Mark Penn [file photo], Hillary's chief strategist, would have people believe about the press release Clinton put out two days ago. Penn appeared on today's Morning Joe, and talked soon turned to the release. No fewer than four times, Penn tried to pass off the to-all-appearances dead serious kindergarten citation as a "joke":
Update 12-03 | 1:55 PM: Barack fires back; claims Hillary becoming "more desperate and negative by the day." See complete update at foot.
Are Hillary's internal polling numbers telling her staffers that she's in big trouble? That's the provocative theory that Chris Matthews floated on today's Morning Joe.
Host Joe Scarborough asked what could have caused Hillary and her senior aide Howard Wolfson to go on the attack against Barack Obama this weekend, respectively questioning his character and accusing him of maintaining an improper political "slush fund." In response, Matthews conjectured that Hillary's helpers have looked at the polling data . . . and seen her support "crashing."
View video here [with apologies for mediocre video quality.]
The surveyor will see you now Journalist and Pollster (Either Or)
As an increasing number of Americans exhibit knowledge of and confidence in the success of the surge in Iraq, pollsters seeking a gloomier picture have turned to their single most reliable focus group for bad news. They have in fact skipped the middle men and women and gone to its very font: the media.
Nearly 90 percent of U.S. journalists in Iraq say much of Baghdad is still too dangerous to visit, despite a recent drop in violence attributed to the build-up of U.S. forces, a (Pew Research Center) poll released on Wednesday said.
One wonders if this is the same 90% of correspondents who admitted to voting for President Bill Clinton twice; certainly a great deal of overlap exists between the two polling samples.
"You sort of have to be a little careful. There's a whole campaign handbook of things that you say to dismiss polls. But you should mire them in a little bit of truth." -- John Zogby, responding to criticism by Mark Penn, chief Hillary Clinton strategist, of Zogby's online polling.
Mark Twain, famously warning against getting into a spat with newspapers, said "never pick a fight with someone who buys their ink by the barrel." To his chagrin, Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton's chief campaign strategist, is learning a modern corollary: never pick a fight with someone with three hours of national airtime. And for gosh sakes, don't use arguments in picking the fight so false as to be child's play to disprove, and don't leave obvious fingerprints when you try to intimidate the networks.
Wash, spin, rinse, spin. Phone, spin, report, spin, poll, spin. The similarities between the work of the mainstream media and a laundry machine are striking. Yet there is nothing about the cycle -- the spin-report-poll-spin cycle -- that does for political events what detergent does for your boxers or briefs.
The media, as One, spend days or weeks bashing someone or something they do not like. They then conduct a poll to prove to you that they were right all along. In a campaign season, their one-sided coverage is calculated, then executed to produce a result. It’s not about reporting the events, it’s about changing the prevailing view.
And the polls -- such as the ones by the media, which are not independent surveys like those undertaken by the likes of Rasmussen or Gallup -- aren’t intended as much to gauge the public view of a candidate or events as they are to reinforce that which they have “reported”, or provide the media guidance on how effective their spinning of the news has been.
Update | 10:25 AM -- Zogby says Penn should know better . . . Clinton campaign #1 user of Zogby results. See entire Zogby response at foot.
Presaging the kind of press control a President Hillary Clinton might try to impose, a member of her inner circle scolded Joe Scarborough today for having the audacity to mention a poll with results unfavorable to Clinton.
Yesterday, Zogby International released a new poll indicating that in a general election head-to-head match-up, Hillary Clinton would lose to all of the leading Republican contenders by a 3-5% margin. Even worse from the perspective of Clinton heading into the Dem primaries, the same poll shows Barack Obama beating each of the Republicans by 5-7%.
Chief Clinton strategist Mark Penn was a guest on "Morning Joe" during today's 7:30 ET half-hour. Nothing could be more natural than for Scarborough to raise these newsworthy results. But Penn wasn't pleased.