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.
Being against the war after she was for it, could it be soon be time for Hillary to be for it again?
The question arises in light of the findings by Charles Franklin [pictured here] at Pollster.com. According to his November 6th Pollster.com analysis, there has been a "remarkable" shift, in a positive direction, in public opinion on the war in Iraq.
People decisively favor letting their public schools provide birth control to students, but they also voice misgivings that divide them along generational, income and racial lines, a poll showed.
Sixty-seven percent support giving contraceptives to students, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll. About as many — 62 percent — said they believe providing birth control reduces the number of teenage pregnancies.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Friday shows the approval rating for all members of Congress sits at a dismal 22 percent, while 75 percent of those surveyed disapproved of the way Congress is handling its job.
The report indicates that just over 600 Americans were asked the following question: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job? The current poll results, as well as those of a year ago, were listed as follows: Oct. 12-14, 2007 (Approve-22%; Disapprove-75%; No opinion-3%); and Oct. 6-8, 2006 (Approve-28%; Disapprove-63%; No opinion-9%).
Following these results, however, is an extensive list of polling data on congressional approval ratings going back to April 1974 (presumably the oldest polling data available). The historical polling data is labelled "GALLUP CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP TRENDS." It should also be noted that the polling is not listed on a monthly or yearly basis. Some years had monthly results on the poll question, while other years (particularly in the 1970's) listed as few as one poll per year.
The U.S. economy by most markers is performing admirably. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, we have had 49 consecutive months of job growth. Unemployment is at a historic low of 4.7 percent, the average number of jobs created is holding steady at around 100,000 per month and real after-tax personal income has increased by 12.5 percent. Yet, according to a CNN poll, half of Americans think the country is in a recession. As Larry Elder writes today at TownHall.com, the reason can be found in the way that the media portray the economy. And that portrayal differs dramatically when a Republican is in office as opposed to a Democrat. Elder writes,
Was it just a slip of the tongue, or did Josephine "Josie" Hearn of Politico just let her liberal slip show? On this evening's "Tucker," she sure seemed to wax enthusiastic over a positive poll result for Hillary.
Norah O'Donnell subbed for Tucker Carlson on his MSNBC show this evening, and talk turned to the latest LA Times|Bloomberg poll, which put Hillary at 48%, with Obama at 17% and Edwards trailing with 13%. Norah invited Hearn to comment.
NORAH O'DONNELL: Josie, it just shows she's continuing her wide margin on just about every demographic, right?
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show,"host Harry Smith teased an interview with Barack Obama at the beginning of show and spoke of how the Democratic presidential candidate is often, "...greeted as a Rock Star," by voters.
The toughest questions asked by Smith were questions of why Obama is behind Hillary Clinton in the polls, something Smith attributed to the fact that, "There are people who like you a lot, who are saying we want more of that audacity, there's not enough audacity in the campaign." Well, we already know that Smith is in the Al Gore camp, so finding any actual candidate as audacious would be a challenge.
Smith continued to wonder about the futility of Obama’s campaign against Hillary, assuming her nomination as a forgone conclusion: "A lot of people say it's a fait accompli. I mean, not only will she get the nomination, she's going to get elected." French terminology aside, Smith tried to urge Obama on, wondering if the Illinois Senator was putting his full energy into the campaign: "Are you too cool? Have you been too cool?" I’m sure Smith also believes that Fred Thompson has not brought enough "audacity" to the campaign, or has been "too cool."
On Tuesday morning’s Early Show, CBS anchor Harry Smith led into a Hillary Clinton interview with a poll that sounded like it had been commissioned by the Clinton team: "In a new CBS News poll, 66 percent of voters said her health care experience in Bill Clinton’s administration is actually a strength for her. As we know, her efforts in the 1990s failed; 52 percent of those questioned said it wasn’t her fault."
But dig into the CBS poll, and see what Smith left out: when respondents asked if they were confident in "Hillary’s ability to make the right decisions about health care, or are you uneasy about her approach," more people (48 percent) said they were uneasy about Hillary’s health agenda, compared to 42 percent who said they were confident about her health care decision-making.
The Democrats hit General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker with the results of an ABC/BBC poll of Iraqi citizens during the two days of testimony. Barbara Boxer was so immersed in the poll results that she couldn't even muster up a question for General Petraeus. Since the poll results were not released until Monday September 10, 2007, it left little time for an indepth look at the poll, the sampling size, the surveyors and the results from all the questions.
First of all - the sample size. The number of Iraqis questioned for the poll was approximately 2100 people. 2100 people in a country with an estimated population of 27,499,638 according to the CIA Factbook. That means the poll results were from 1/1000 of the population. How can a sample size that small even be considered partially representative of the population?
On the day of the long-anticipated report from General David Petraeus on the “surge,” the CBS Evening News ignored how its latest poll discovered the third straight month of an increase in the percent of Americans who believe the surge has “made things better” in Iraq. As the percentage has gone up, CBS's interest in the result has gone down. In July, anchor Katie Couric led with how only 19 percent thought the surge was “making things better” and a month later, in August, when that number jumped to 29 percent, CBS and Couric gave it just 12 seconds 20 minutes into the newscast..
While Monday's CBS Evening News skipped how the share crediting the surge for “making things better” rose to 35 percent in the survey conducted through Saturday, the newscast found time to highlight three other findings that stressed public opposition to the war and distrust of President Bush. Jim Axelrod relayed how “in the latest CBS News/New York Times poll, just four percent think Iraq will become a stable democracy in the next year or two. More than half [53%] say it'll never happen. [On screen: Yes, but it will take longer: 42%] And just five percent think the Bush administration best able to make the right calls on the war. [Congress: 21%; U.S. military commanders: 68%].” A bumper before the first ad break showcased how on “U.S. troop levels in Iraq,” 30 percent said they “should increase/keep the same,” while 65 percent responded they “should decrease/remove all.”
A majority of Americans - 54% - believe the United States has not lost the war in Iraq, but there is dramatic disagreement on the question between Democrats and Republicans, a new UPI/Zogby Interactive poll shows. While two in three Democrats (66%) said the war effort has already failed, just 9% of Republicans say the same.
Many Democrats, seeing the fact that the surge appears to be working, have realized that their defeatist attitudes and willingness to surrender may cost them dearly in the next election, have changed their tune somewhat, or, like the New York Times, have merely moved the goalposts of what constitutes victory. However, the major media, who have been overwhelmingly in favor of a precipitous defeat seem to be a little slow in reporting that their years of negative reporting and defeatism have not yet managed to dissuade a majority of their countrymen from wanting to win.
Liberals around the country are smiling today at an Associated Press poll and story circulating on the web claiming that conservatives read less than liberals, none more so than former Colorado Democratic congresswoman Pat Schroeder who despite being president of the American Association of Publishers decided she felt like insulting half of her potential reading audience by dusting off an old liberal refrain:
"The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: 'No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes,' [...] It's pretty hard to write a book saying, 'No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes' on every page. [...] She said liberals tend to be policy wonks who "can't say anything in less than paragraphs. We really want the whole picture, want to peel the onion."
It's all too familiar and really kind of sad since this poll is hardly conclusive (more on that in a minute). For all their talk about being "regular people," the left sure loves calling their fellow citizens stupid and moronic. You'd think that after employing this method for so long—think Reagan-as-idiot-savant, rationalizing the radio failure of Mario Cuomo, Air America, etc.—that the left would realize their elitist and snobbish attitude and either drop it or drop the whole "party of the people" nonsense. After all, how can you be for the common man if you regard him as an ignorant dolt?
Looking to sample the political opinions of regular Americans? What better cross-section than the denizens of MSM newsrooms! That seems to be Mike Barnicle's attitude, at least. The former Boston Globe columnist-turned-MSNBC contributor is guest-hosting for Chris Matthews on this afternoon's "Hardball."
Chatting with guests Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post and Holly Bailey of Newsweek, talk turned to the topic of Americans' desire for political change. At one point Barnicle made this observation:
MIKE BARNICLE: The force for change that's out there, if you talk to regular people, people like me, people like you, the idea that they want a change is a very powerful force.
Many Americans do not believe the news media are fair, accurate or even moral, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center. The poll of 1500 Americans conducted late last month found that most of the public thinks news organizations are politically biased (55%) and often publish inaccurate stories (53%), and that roughly a third of the audience say the media are too critical of America (43%), hurt democracy (36%) and are immoral (32%).
Half of Americans (52%) label the media as liberal, led by self-described Republicans (75%) but also large percentages of independents (49%) and even Democrats (37%). And while journalists tout themselves as the public's objective eyes and ears, many more Americans are confident that the military provides an accurate view of the war in Iraq (52%), compared with 42 percent who trust that the press offers accurate reports.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Pew found that those who have chosen to bypass traditional news outlets in favor of the Internet give the “harshest indictments of the press.”
WASHINGTON - To see the type of person who still backs him, President Bush need only look in the mirror. The president fits the composite of today's Bush supporter: a conservative, white, Republican man, an evangelical Christian who goes to church regularly.
Hammered by bad news in Iraq, congressional investigations and recent failed domestic initiatives such as immigration reform, Bush's job approval rating has spiraled to record lows for his presidency. Two-thirds of Republicans and about one-third of independents still support him, but virtually no Democrats are left in Bush's camp.
Really, were there ever any Democrats in his camp (besides Sen. Joe Lieberman)? After Bush *cough* stole the 2000 election and all...
According to the UK's Life Style Extra, a majority of 4,000 people surveyed believe global warming is a natural occurrence, as opposed to being caused by mankind, despite a scientific consensus claimed by the article:
ALMOST three quarters of people believe global warming is a 'natural occurrence' and not a result of carbon emissions, a survey claimed today.
This goes against the views of the vast majority of scientists who believe the rise in the earth's temperatures is due to pollution.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which represents most scientists, stated earlier that the increase in global temperatures is 'very likely due to the observed increase of man-made greenhouse gas concentrations'.
They define very likely as 'more than 90 percent certain'.
The MSM delights in highlighting President Bush's anemic poll numbers. Congress's approval rating in the latest Gallup poll was so shockingly, historically, low at 14% that the MSM could hardly ignore it.
But there was another finding emerging from that same Gallup poll that has received very little media attention: the societal institution that enjoys, by far, the highest confidence among Americans is, at 69%, the military.
Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Bill Carr discussed the Gallup findings on last night's "Right Angle," the Ithaca-based TV show that this NewsBuster hosts. While clearly pleased by the military's achievement in that regard, Sec. Carr was also duly diplomatic about it, as this exchange reflects.
RIGHT ANGLE HOST MARK FINKELSTEIN: So 70% for the military, 14% for Congress, which if my mathematics are correct, that's five times more confidence in the military than in the Congress. So perhaps some of the Pentagon officials should keep that in their back pocket the next time they're being grilled up on the Hill.
DEPUTY UNDERSECRETARY OF DEFENSE BILL CARR: We would never raise that.
Politics has become so divisive that liberals in America really and truly believe that President Bush is utterly delusional. The rest of the country disagrees in varying degrees. It's clear, however, which side AP reporter Jennifer Loven is on. Hat tip: Power Line:
Confronted with strong opposition to his Iraq policies, President
Bush decides to interpret public opinion his own way. Actually, he
says, people agree with him.
Democrats view the November elections that gave them control of
Congress as a mandate to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq. They're
backed by evidence; election exit poll surveys by The Associated Press
and television networks found 55 percent saying the U.S. should
withdraw some or all of its troops from Iraq.
While Friday's New York Times underlined "broad support" for current immigration "reform" proposals, selectively highlighting the positive poll results, this is not how the Times reported the Bush tax cuts of 2001. Back then, Times reporters tried to dismiss their own poll numbers as meaningless and growing more irrelevant by the hour.
On March 14, 2001, the Times report by Richard Berke and Janet Elder highlighted how Bush had a decent approval rating, but he and Vice President Cheney also drew lots of negatives. The headline was "60% In Poll Favor Bush, But Economy Is Major Concern." This, in paragraph eight, is how they pooh-poohed the public support for tax cuts:
On the immediate agenda, Mr. Bush should be encouraged that most Americans endorse his signature blueprint to cut taxes. Yet they do not seem deeply enthusiastic. Most see the plan as favoring the rich and doing little, if anything, to help average, middle-income people or to stimulate the economy.
We've been hearing a lot about Bush's low approval ratings, but what about the new Democratic congress? Despite the fact that they won the 2006 elections, Democrats' poll numbers are actually lower than that of President Bush.
If the Democrats have had a few laughs looking at approval ratings for
George Bush, the laughter has probably stopped this morning after Gallup's latest survey.
It shows that Congress has even lower ratings than the President, and
the number has dropped consistently since the Democrats first took
How bad is it? Even Democrats mostly disapprove of Congress. Only
37% of the majority party's voters think that Congress has performed
well; Gallup doesn't mention the percentage that disapproves, but it
seems almost certain that it outstrips 37%, unless more than 26% are
clueless. Congress gets its worst ratings not from Republicans (25%),
but from independents (24%). That should get the attention of
leadership in both chambers, who owe their majorities to those
According to a Rasmussen poll released today, just 39 percent of Democrats in this country say they are certain that President Bush did not know about the 9/11 attacks before they happened. Thirty-five percent of Democrats said they believe Bush did know, 26 percent are uncertain. Independents and Republicans are far more likely to disbelieve the conspiracy nonsense.
It's really sad to what degree the left-dominated media has allowed the "truther" movement to gain such wide currency in our marketplace of ideas. You can bet if a Democrat had been president, the left in this country would not be so similarly deluded about 9/11.
One-third of Americans say
they have a negative view of Katie Couric, her personal popularity
lagging behind rivals Charles Gibson and Brian Williams just as her
evening news program trails in the ratings.
Poll fixation by the media has been a frequent topic of discussion for conservatives as the press have focused ad nauseum on the falling approval numbers of President Bush the past couple of years.
With that in mind, will the press show equal interest in a study just released by the Gallup Organization identifying Hillary Clinton’s favorability rating plummeting an astounding thirteen percentage points in two months to one of its lowest levels since 1993?
Given the truly shocking results reported on Wednesday, one could easily envision this being the lead story for network evening news programs if the data was about one of the Republican presidential frontrunners, and if not for the massacre at Virginia Tech (emphasis added throughout):
The mainstream media often uses polls to give a biased impression, and CNN’s Miles O’Brien used a recent AP/IPSOS poll to paint a rosy picture of the Democrat-controlled Congress. O’Brien reported on Tuesday that the Democrats were "riding pretty high" with a 40 percent approval rating. For some comparison, in September 2005, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer characterized a 40 percent approval rating for President Bush as "a low point," and used the figure to reenforce his report on the President’s "political troubles."
It’s interesting to note that another recent poll by Gallup puts the current approval rating of Congress at 33%. This is up 7 percent since October 2006, which was right before the election as well.