According to a poll commissioned by the McCormick Tribune Foundation (details here) reveals that Americans know more about the long-running Fox cartoon family the Simpsons than they do about the First Amendment.
Only one-tenth of one percent (1 in 1000 people) of those surveyed were able to name all five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment--speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition--while 22 percent could identify the five members of the Simpson family--Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie.
Awareness of freedom of speech was pretty high in the survey at least. Well over half of respondents (69 percent) named it as a freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment. Knowledge of the other four, however, was low with the next most-cited freedom being religion with just 24 percent. That's 1 percent less than those who were able to name all three of the "American Idol" judges, Randy, Paula, and Simon.
Much is being made about the Zogby poll released today that allegedly shows a mutiny of the military in Iraq. Nicholas Kristof has a hard time containing his excitement in The New York Times:
A poll to be released today shows that U.S. soldiers overwhelmingly want out of Iraq — and soon.
Editor & Publisher then jumps on the bandwagon and trumpets Kristof's declaration with the headline:
Kristof: Poll Finds U.S. Troops in Iraq Urge Pullout
Overwhelminglywant out soon? Urge pullout? Sounds like a pretty strong indictment on the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. But things may not actually be as they appear... or as Kristof and the Democrats want them to appear.
CBS is at it again. As Brent Baker noted, last night’s "Evening News" with Bob Schieffer harped on CBS’s latest poll showing "record low" approval ratings for President Bush, and this morning’s "The Early Show" followed his lead. Bill Plante took note of the bad news the White House has faced over the last few months and how that has contributed to these low numbers:
Bill Plante: "Well the bad news has been pretty much nonstop for the Bush White House over the past few months. Hurricane Katrina, the Medicare drug program, eavesdropping, the situation in Iraq, the ports deal; it's all combined to bring the President's rating to a new low."
According to the article by Louis Uchitelle and Megan Thee, even most of this biased sample of Americans is against raising the gas tax, but the Times helpfully tested different ways that money-hungry politicians might be able to talk them into it:
In its classic "fair and balanced" tradition, CBS slanted in favor of Democrats its poll that found Bush has a 34 percent approval rating and a 59 percent disapproval rating, an all-time high for a CBS poll.
On the bottom of the PDF version of the poll (page 18) it says how many Democrats versus Republicans were contacted.
"Total Republicans" contacted: 272 unweighted and 289 weighted.
"Total Democrats" contacted: 409 unweighted and 381 weighted.
"Total Independents" contacted: 337 unweighted and 348 weighted.
Brent Baker also noted how CBS failed to highlight a key portion of its poll on the Feb. 27 "CBS Evening News." 66 percent of respondents thought the media devoted "too much time" to Cheney's hunting accident.
Though President Bush's approval rating, in a new CBS News poll released Monday night at 6:30pm EST, was just one point lower than where it stood in October -- and thus well within the poll's three-point margin of error, Bob Schieffer teased the CBS Evening News by declaring: “There is little to celebrate at the White House where public dissatisfaction, that began with the handling of Hurricane Katrina, has driven President Bush's approval ratings to an all-time low" of 34 percent. It stood at 35 percent in CBS's October 2005 survey. In the subsequent story, Jim Axelrod cited public disapproval of the port deal, declining approval for Bush's conduct of the war on terror and how only 37 percent say things in Iraq are going “well,” -- “down nine points” from the fall, but only down one point from 2004. After Axelrod, Schieffer, in New Orleans to mark the six-month anniversary of Katrina, proceeded to recite some Katrina poll numbers. (Transcript follows.)
Left unmentioned: How the poll-takers questioned many more Democrats than Republicans. A PDF posting of poll results lists 409 Democratic respondents versus 272 Republican respondents. CBS “weighted” the results to effectively count 289 Republicans versus 381 Democrats. And while in a couple of minutes of network air time you can hardly be expected to recite every poll finding, CBS managed to skip over several numbers which demonstrated the disconnect between the public and the national press corps. On “media coverage of Cheney hunting accident,” for instance, the public overwhelmingly rejected -- by three-to-one -- the media's obsession: 66 percent said the media devoted “too much time” compared to a piddling 22 percent who thought the press allocated the “right amount of time.” Another nine percent, most likely a lot of journalists and the “angry left,” believed it got “too little time.” Also, by 51 to 47 percent, most “approve of Bush authorizing wiretaps to fight terrorism.”
TIME magazine just released the results of a recent poll done for them by SRBI Public Affairs concerning America’s view of Vice President Dick Cheney following almost non-stop, wall-to-wall, 24/7 coverage of a hunting accident that he was involved in last weekend. The numbers are quite fascinating, and depict a populace that is much less concerned about this incident than the press, as well as possessing a far smaller level of disdain for the vice president than those in the media.
It appears safe to assume that the headline statistic from this poll will be that 41 percent of respondents disapproved of Cheney’s performance as vice president versus 29 percent that approved. However, SRBI stated this is “little changed from last November.”
Yet, what likely won’t make the front-pages tomorrow or be the lead stories on tonight’s network broadcast news programs is that 52 percent of respondents approved of the way Cheney handled informing the media of the hunting accident, compared to 42 percent that disapproved. This has certainly not been reflected in the seven days of media outrage that followed this incident.
On Friday, the New York Times released results from its recent, comprehensive poll done along with CBS News. The Times devoted an entire article to this poll, and put it smack dab on the front page. Yet, the article curiously left out a few details that the Times editors must have thought were unimportant. For instance, 52 percent of those polled approve of the way the president is prosecuting the war on terrorism. This is the highest approval the president has received in this regard from a CBS News/New York Times poll since before Hurricane Katrina hit. This is quite surprising given all of the attention given to NSA eavesdropping over the past six weeks, and last week’s release of the Osama bin Laden tape.
Another finding of this poll that the Times omitted from its Friday article was that 50 percent of respondents said U.S.
Some time yesterday morning, the Gallup Organization released the results of a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll that, judging from its shocking results, many Americans might never hear about. Now, at this point, this is idle speculation. However, through 9:50AM EST Thursday, this has received very little attention.
From what I can tell, CNN reported this on its “American Morning” program which aired at 7AM EST. Oddly, according to a LexisNexis search, that’s the only time yesterday that CNN referenced this poll. Rush Limbaugh reported about this during his program yesterday, which means that he had this information in the AM Wednesday. As the Drudge Report posted the story at 10:52 AM EST (assuming I'm doing a good job of converting from GMT!), this makes sense. An hour later, both NewsMax and World Net Daily reported it. Moreover, the AP reported this at 3:58PM yesterday in an article about Sen. Clinton’s disagreements with the president’s recently iterated views on terrorist surveillance. And, Jonah Goldberg addressed this in a Los Angeles Times op-ed this morning.
Yet, a Google news search done at 9:50AM EST Thursday indicated that, to this point, no other major news organizations published these results. In fact, from what I can tell, this hasn’t been reported by USA Today, and has yet to be posted at CNN’s website.
What’s so shocking about this poll that the press appear frightened to share with the public:
Yesterday's Canadian election confirmed what polls and pundits had been reporting: Millions of voters strongly favored the Conservatives and were disgusted by the Liberal Party's stumbling social policies and massive corruption.
The Post only quoted one person who even claimed to have voted Conservative. And it told its readers said she did so “reluctantly:”
"I think we have to give it a try. But I am very afraid that it will be too far right," said Florence Koven, 72, emerging from the polls after voting -- reluctantly, she said -- for the Conservative Party. "The unknown always concerns you. Mr. Harper (the Conservative leader) says he is a changed man; we'll see how much he has changed."
Yes indeed, all of us on both sides of the border need to be sooo careful about voting for Conservatives. And if they win, we must always hope they change once in office.
The Post's management continues to insist the paper doesn't have a liberal bias. What's more, the editors tell us that when covering an election, their reporters find out what voters are saying and tell us.
Well, if that's the case, how did The Post miss all the Canadians who would have been happy to tell its reporters: "We're sick and tired of the Liberals and glad the Conservatives are going in?"
The folks over at Rasmussen Reports recently released results of a new poll with some rather stunning findings that are not likely to make their way into mainstream media reports. Apparently, not only aren’t Americans shocked by the activities of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, but they hold such a lowly view of members of Congress that they perceive used car salesmen as being more ethical:
“Forty percent (40%) of Americans say that used-car salesmen are generally more ethical than members of Congress. A Rasmussen Reports survey finds that just 27% believe the nation's elected representatives are more ethical.”
Over at Romenesko Letters, the liberals are trying to dismiss the conservative case against the liberal media, but they’re shooting blanks again. A man named John Martellaro, clearly moony over Eric Alterman’s questionable grasp on media reality, writes in to suggest the media account of the Alterman vs. Carlson media-bias debate revealed that Alterman offered "verifiable facts," while Tucker Carlson offered only "unsourced blather." Unfortunately, his lame arguments considers polls about Iraq and the names of newspaper sections as the "verifiable facts" of a conservative media bias. I'll rebut this after a peek at Martellaro's letter:
Where's the real bias in the U.S. media, leaning left or leaning right? The "debate" between Tucker Carlson and Eric Alterman is hardly the last word on the subject, but let's start there.
At the top of the lead story for Tuesday's New York Times, reporters Richard Stevenson and Neil Lewis put the onus on Bush’s Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito to show he’s not “too much of an ideologue.”
“Addressing concerns among Democrats that his past support for conservative positions makes him too much of an ideologue for a seat on the Supreme Court, Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. began his public drive for confirmation Monday by saying judges should have no agendas or preferred outcomes of their own.”
Later, they make this claim to suggest Alito may find the vote rough going:
“But the biggest difference from the Roberts hearings may have been in the political climate. Since then, Mr. Bush has been weakened by the failed nomination of Harriet E. Miers to the Supreme Court, the continued bloodshed in Iraq and the corruption inquiries that have ensnared Republican lobbyists and members of Congress.”
Today (Saturday) there are stories in numerous papers based on an AP-Ipsos poll just released. Typical of the lot is an article in the New York Post, whose lede and third paragraphs are here:
Dissatisfied with the nation's direction, Americans are leaning toward wanting a change in which political party leads Congress - preferring that Democrats take control, an AP-Ipsos poll found. Democrats are favored over Republicans 49 percent to 36 percent.
President Bush's job approval remains low - 40 percent in the AP-Ipsos poll, with only one-third saying the country is headed in the right direction. Bush also remains low on his handling of Iraq, where violence against Iraqis and U.S. troops has been surging.
This and other results in this poll would be bad to very bad news for the Bush Administration, if the poll were statistically accurate. It is not. The poll is stacked in most of its demographics to favor pro-Democrat results.
In yet another sly attempt at bolstering Democratic hopes in glum times, the ever-dependable Will Lester and David Espo tell us that, “In an ominous election-year sign for Republicans, Americans are leaning sharply toward giving Democrats control of Congress, an AP-Ipsos poll finds.”
In a mere three opening paragraphs they manage snide allusions to President Bush’s forty percent job approval rating, a surge in violence in Iraq and the Jack Abramoff trial. They caution that, “Republican strategists fear that fallout from the Abramoff scandal will give Democrats fresh opportunity for gains.”
It’s been more than two weeks since the New York Times broke the National Security Agency eavesdropping story, and despite a media barrage on this subject, it appears the nation doesn’t feel the Bush administration is doing anything wrong. A survey released by Rasmussen Reports last week identified:
“Sixty-four percent (64%) of Americans believe the National Security Agency (NSA) should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that just 23% disagree.”
Despite the media’s efforts to paint a picture that this program is something newly hatched by the current administration, Americans aren’t buying it:
Much as the folks at Today revel in reporting soaring gas prices and plunging Bush poll numbers, pesky facts - in the form of a recent Bush poll rise - can get in the way.
But that was not about to stop Katie Couric this morning. The Perky One, tan and blonder-than-ever in her return from vacation, explained away Bush's recent poll bump as resulting soley and exclusively from his mea culpas.
Katie's guest was reliable all-purpose talking head Howard Fineman.
"His poll numbers started to tick upward before the holidays, Howard, because it was sort of a more candid, contrite approach on the part of the President. Will he continue the strategy, do you think?"
The Zogby and Rasmussen polling organizations released some interesting survey results before Christmas that the mainstream media will certainly not report to their loyal customers. Taken in their totality, these polls show:
President Bush’s job favorability numbers are back to the levels they were at well before hurricane season began
The revelations of NSA eavesdropping are not having a negative impact on the president
Americans are feeling better about the War on Terror than they have since more than a year ago
Americans are feeling better about things in Iraq than they have all year
First, Rasmussen released presidential job favorability numbers on Saturday:
As one might have suspected, ABC's Good Morning America did not grant nearly the same amount of coverage to President Bush's improving poll numbers in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, as they did to his declining ratings over a month ago when the program unfavorably compared Bush's low numbers to LBJ's.
The new ABC poll, which shows Bush's approval rating rising eight points to 47 percent, was hidden in a two-sentence story read by news anchor Robin Roberts shortly before 7:15 this morning. In contrast, an earlier ABC News poll showing Bush's approval rating down to 39 percent merited a full report from national correspondent Claire Shipman on November 4th. In that report, Shipman declared that while the 39 percent rating was "grim," the noteworthy story from the poll was "the White House hemorrhaging on those issues of trust and credibility." In the November 2nd poll, Shipman reported that "just 40 percent call President Bush honest and trustworthy," which she deemed "extremely bad news." Did GMA note this morning that Bush's ratings on the issues of trust and credibility had rebounded to 49 percent? Of course not.
This morning on CBS's "The Early Show," in the 7:00 half hour, Rene Syler interviewed their regular political analyst Craig Crawford about whether the President broke the law in authorizing eavesdropping without a warrant, and the President’s poll numbers. This segment was one sided and negative towards the President.
Syler opened her segment saying "In a news conference Monday, President Bush vehemently defended spying on Americans to protect them against terrorism. The President said he broke no law authorizing the secret program and said the practice would continue despite concerns that it infringes on civil liberties." In introducing a story in this way, it would be fair to assume the bulk of the interview would be on this subject. Wrong. The interview ranged from the foreign surveillance issue, to finding the negatives in improving poll numbers for the President, to an assertion by Craig Crawford, in answering a question about what this is all about and what these issues mean, that what’s at stake here is not only control of Congress, but the Constitution.
As reported yesterday by NewsBusters, a brand new ABC News/TIME poll depicted Iraqis as being very optimistic about themselves and the future of their country. The Associated Press via USA Today is sharing this information with its readers by focusing attention on the negatives first. The article, entitled “Most Iraqis Oppose U.S. Troops, Poll Says,” began:
“Most Iraqis disapprove of the presence of U.S. forces in their country, yet they are optimistic about Iraq's future and their own personal lives, according to a new poll.
“More than two-thirds of those surveyed oppose the presence of troops from the United States and its coalition partners and less than half, 44%, say their country is better off now than it was before the war, according to an ABC News poll conducted with Time magazine and other media partners.”
There’s a new poll out, done by Oxford Research International for ABC News and TIME magazine. Unfortunately, unless you were watching “This Week” on ABC this morning, or this evening’s “World News Tonight,” you likely missed it.
George Stephanopoulos referred to this poll on “This Week” this morning as he was speaking with American ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad (taken from closed captioning):
“And I want to begin by showing you and our viewers some results from a new poll, conducted by ABC news and 'Time' magazine, and other international partners. It's part of our 'Iraq: Where Things Stand' series. It shows some good news. More than 70% of Iraqis think things are going well for them right now. But it also shows there's a growing gap between the Shiites and Sunnis in the country, as we've seen before. Over 80% of Shiites feel safe. They approve of the constitution. They have confidence in the Iraqi army.”
The Associated Press/Ipsos released results of a new poll concerning the public’s opinion of political corruption. In its report about this survey, the AP categorized the public’s negative view as being almost exclusively a Republican problem. In fact, not one Democrat is specifically named in this article, while seven Republicans are. Yet, buried very deep in one of the final paragraphs is the finding that, within the poll’s margin of error, Democrats and Republicans are considered equally ethical.
After a month of hounding President Bush for low poll numbers, Thursday’s “Early Show” on CBS ignored their own network's poll showing President Bush’s approval rating has improved by five points over the last month. But a month ago, when a CBS poll found lower ratings for the President, the “Early Show” mentioned it two days in a row. CBS’s Bill Plante was quick to point out that among modern Presidents; only Richard Nixon was lower at this point in his second term. The next day, Thalia Assuras touted how “the President’s poll numbers are defining a new low.” However, CBS's polling partner, the “New York Times”, found President Bush’s rising poll numbers important enough to put on their front page above the fold Thursday morning under a headline reading “Economy Lifts Bush’s Support in Latest Poll,” and the poll was also featured on last night's "CBS Evening News” with Bob Schieffer.
The American people continue to maintain skeptical attitudes toward the press and politicians according to a recent survey:
The annual Gallup Poll asking Americans to rate, on
a scale of one to five, the honesty and ethical standards of those in
21 professions again placed nurses at the very top with an 82% favorate
score. Journalists, U.S. senators and congressmen trailed badly.
In fact, the senators and congressmen, near the very
bottom of the list, should heed this call: They finished behind lawyers
and building contractors.
Those in advertising finished below congressmen but managed to beat out car salesmen and telemarketers.
Receiving the highest ethical scores in order were
nurses, pharmacists , medical doctors, high school teachers, policemen,
and clergy, with journalists trailing badly. [...]
On Friday, NewsBusters reported the results of a new Rasmussen poll indicating that the public’s view of the War on Terrorism has dramatically improved in the past couple of months, but none of the mainstream media were opting to share this information with the citizenry. Well, another polling agency has just done a survey confirming this increase in American optimism concerning this subject. Yet, in this case, the very media outlet that paid for the survey is the one not including the results in its own published report.
On Sunday, TIME magazine posted an article at its website concerning a recent poll done for it by Schulman, Ronca & Bucuvalas (SRBI). This survey covered the typical analysis found in most polls these days including the president's job approval rating, how the public feels things are going in Iraq, etc. Yet, TIME curiously chose not to share with its readers an entire section from this SRBI survey concerning how the public feels the War on Terrorism is going.
The folks at PollingReport.com have the results that TIME didn’t share with its readers. For instance, 49 percent of those surveyed felt that the president is doing a good job handling the War on Terrorism. This is up from 46 percent in their poll taken after Katrina hit.
Tired of public opinion polls? Well, an article in today’s New York Times might be an indication that Americans have seen enough polls in the past three months, and that a new strategy is necessary to inform them how to think. How does it work? Well, instead of releasing data that supposedly represents a statistical picture of the nation’s views on a subject, make the data significantly more real by putting names and faces to the numbers.
The article in question, entitled “Even Supporters Doubt President as Issues Pile Up,” effectively introduced this strategy in its first four paragraphs:
media elite are to the left of the public in several policy areas
related to the war on terrorism, a poll "of opinion leaders and the
general public conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People
& the Press in collaboration with the Council on Foreign
Relations," found. While 56 percent of the public believes "efforts to
establish a stable democracy" in Iraq will succeed, 63 percent of the
news media elite think it will fail; a plurality of 48 percent of the
public think going to war in Iraq was correct, but 71 percent of the
news media elite consider it a bad decision; the public is split evenly
at 44 percent on whether the Iraq war has helped or hurt the war on
terrorism, but an overwhelming 68 percent of the news media elite say
it has hurt; and 46 percent of the public believe torture of terrorist
suspects is often or sometimes "justified," 78 percent of the news
media elite contend it is "rarely" or "never" justified. Plus, news
media elite approval of Bush's job performance -- at a lowly 21 percent
-- is half that of the public's.