Apparently MSNBC's Thomas Roberts doesn't seem to get the importance of knowing the partisan breakdown of a poll's respondents to assessing that polls reliability. In the midst of a segment centered around President Obama's quasi-amnesty-by-fiat policy announced last week, token conservative panelist J.P. Freire poured cold water on a new Bloomberg poll that shows 64 percent of Americans agreeing with the president's announced halt on deportations. Freire observed that the poll doesn't break down how many Democrats and Republicans were sampled and that it is contradicted by other polls.
But for his part, Roberts seemed to believe that because the poll didn't get into the partisan allegiances of its respondents, it was evidence that the respondents were largely independent and hence a good sign for Obama's reelection in November. Roberts then hypocritically chided Freire for spouting unwarranted "assumptions" on his program. [video follows page break]
While CNN's Soledad O'Brien tossed softballs at Democratic Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, she was not so kind to her Republican guest during the next hour, on Thursday's Starting Point. O'Brien reported poor poll numbers for both the Romney and Obama campaigns, but went after only the Romney campaign's economic message in detail.
O'Brien teed up the Democratic mayor to respond to Romney hitting Obama for wanting more public sector workers. But she posed the same question of Romney advisor Jim Talent, putting him on the defensive, rather than bringing up, say, President Obama's remark that the private sector is "doing just fine," a statement he later retracted.
One of the most mystifying aspects of the coverage of the Wisconsin recall election has been the media's ongoing use of exit poll results in stories suggesting that -- despite Gov. Scott Walker's big win against the efforts of Democrats and Labor Unions to end his term early -- President Obama has a big lead over Mitt Romney in the crucial swing state.
The continued faith in the flawed Wisconsin survey is even more amazing when you consider the dreadful record exit polls have of matching up with the actual vote totals. In nearly every case of error, exit polls have oversampled Democrats, a fact almost never pointed out by the nation's news organizations.
Alternate title: "Surprise (Not): Barone Exposes How Exit Poll Samples Are Typically Biased."
Early this morning, at the Washington Examiner, Michael Barone casually put out what is apparently a well-known fact in polling circles. I'm thinking that it's not at all well-known to the general public (bold is mine):
On Sunday's CBS Evening News, John Dickerson candidly admitted that a failed recall attempt of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker "would be a big blow" to the unions, and that it "would be a sign to any Republican contemplating similar action to limit unions that you could survive, and Walker will become the poster child and hero of that effort." Poster child?
Dickerson predicted that there "would be a lot of infighting in Democratic circles, with unions saying the national Democratic parties and their president didn't do enough" if Walker won. But he immediately added a more sunny spin, that "it might galvanize union supporters for the presidential election, on the theory that they're under threat and they need a president who's on their side. "
President Obama, new French President Francois Hollande and other political leaders have called for less "austerity" as a way to help the troubled economies on both sides of the Atlantic. That's the polite way of saying they want more government spending and larger deficits.
But U.S. voters have a fundamentally different view. Sixty-one percent believe that cutting government spending is what those ailing European economies need. Just 20 percent agree with the political leaders.
On Friday's CBS This Morning, Jan Crawford spotlighted that "the economic and political climate today is more similar to years when incumbent presidents lost than when they won." The correspondent pointed out the similarity between polling numbers today and in 1992, when George H.W. Bush was running for reelection: "Gallup has asked voters whether they're satisfied with the way things in the country are going. Today, only 24 percent say they're satisfied. That's closest to the 20 percent low in May 1992."
Despite this, anchor Charlie Rose tried to shift the blame away from President Obama: "It looks like this is a situation where President Obama fears most the thing he cannot control, which is the economy."
File this one under wishful thinking -- or simply just another case of a liberal newspaper trying to help President Barack Obama's floundering re-election effort. The Tennessean, the daily newspaper in Tennessee's capital city Nashville, over the weekend trumpeted this headline: "Vanderbilt Poll: Obama Closes Gap With Romney."
According to the article, Obama is just one point behind Romney in one of the reddest states in the South, a state John McCain won in 2008 by 15.1 percentage points over Obama. It's also a state where the Republican Party captured near two-thirds majorities in both houses of the state legislature in 2010 and where voters chose Republicans in 7 of 9 congressional districts. The state has a popular Republican governor elected in landslide that same year, and both its U.S. Senators are Republicans.
So … how does it appear that Obama has “closed the gap” with Romney?
Perhaps liberals are wising up and realizing that comparing voter ID laws to Jim Crow statutes is, well, a bit much. It seems now the preferred term of choice, at least on MSNBC, is simply "voter suppression laws."
During the 11 a.m. Eastern hour of MSNBC programming, host Thomas Roberts matter-of-factly labeled voter ID laws as "voter suppression laws" that "could keep minorities and young people away from the polls" as he introduced his guests Heather Smith of Rock the Vote and the NAACP's Marvin Randolph.
Do a majority of Americans really support gay marriage? "Maybe not," the Washington Post admits. For years, headlines have screamed that society is open to redefining marriage. But every time the theory is put to the test, it's proven wrong. As Daniel Horowitz says, the only authentic polling data is votes at the ballot. Thirty-two times, voters have gone to the polls in some of the most liberal states in America and rejected counterfeit marriage--most recently in North Carolina, where a constitutional amendment won by 22 points. Now that President Obama has literally made a federal case out of marriage, the reaction is even more severe.
Most Americans suspect that President Obama was motivated by politics, not policy, when he declared his support for same-sex marriage, according to a new poll released on Monday, suggesting that the unplanned way it was announced shaped public attitudes.
Bill Plante forwarded the Obama administration's spin on Tuesday's CBS This Morning concerning Vice President Joe Biden's support for same-sex "marriage." Plante omitted any clips for conservatives or even moderate Democrats during his report, and mentioned social conservatives' opposition only in passing. While Obama officials expressed support for same-sex "marriage" in the piece, no leftist critics of Obama's apparent opposition were included.
The CBS program was the only Big Three morning newscast on Tuesday that reported on the controversy over the Vice President's recent statement on the issue, as well as the ballot initiative in North Carolina that would codify marriage as between one man and one woman in the state.
Yet the Washington Post chose to spin the polling numbers as a negative, noticing a downward trend from previous numbers and attributing the shift to "a contentious legislative session that drew large protests and national ridicule to the state Capitol."
Just 49 percent of homeowners in America now believe their home is worth more than they paid for it.
Rasmussen Reports has asked that question for years, and it has never before fallen below the 50 percent mark. This represents a sea change in personal finances that challenges core assumptions about the way our economy works.
A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that 2/3rds of Americans want at least a part of the ObamaCare overhaul tossed by the Supreme Court when it decides HHS v. Florida in June. Thirty-eight percent of respondents in the poll want the entire law thrown out while 29 percent say just a part of it being thrown out would suffice.
Yet rather than lead with these numbers in their story today, Washington Post reporters Robert Barnes and Scott Clement chose a question from the April 5-8 poll that shows 50 percent of Americans think the Court "will rule on the health-care reform case mainly on the basis... of their partisan political views."
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose rolled over and deferred to chief Obama flack David Axelrod and his talking points defending the President's Monday rant against the Supreme Court and its deliberation on his health care law, along with its attacks on Mitt Romney. Rose tossed softball questions at Axelrod, such as, "Tell me what he [Obama] is saying when he talks about judicial activism."
The anchor even boosted Hillary Clinton as a possible 2016 presidential candidate for Democrats during his interview with the Obama aide: "[Nancy Pelosi] said her candidate is Hillary Clinton. She hopes Hillary Clinton will run....Do you expect that she'll be a nominee in- will be a candidate for president in 2016?" [audio available here; video clips below the jump]
Taking the Constitution's limits on federal power seriously is just, well, backwards to liberal journalists. Take Ari Melber of The Nation. Sitting on the panel on the March 26 edition of Now with Alex Wagner, the MSNBC contributor dismissed as "retrograde" the notion that the ObamaCare individual mandate -- the provision forcing Americans to buy private health insurance or else pay a fine to the federal government -- violates the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
Melber, a former John Kerry presidential campaign staffer, made the remark in the midst of comments wherein he suggested the Obama administration could see a stunning victory before the high court, despite the conservative nature of the tribunal:
"As President Obama and his allies gear up to defend the landmark healthcare law he signed two years ago, they confront an unforgiving math problem: Just a tiny fraction of Americans has experienced a major benefit from the law," Times Washington bureau correspondent Noam Nevey lamented, adding:
CBS This Morning on Tuesday highlighted a recent Pew Research poll that "says politics is now making the Internet very unfriendly....nine percent of social networking users say they've un-friend...or blocked someone whose politics they disagree with." But the morning show failed to mention that the poll explained that "liberals are the most likely...to block, unfriend, or hide."
During her news brief, anchor Erica Hill noted how the left-leaning Daily Beast website reported on the blocking phenomenon. After citing the nine percent figure, Hill added, "Can't we just have a discussion anymore?" It is the left, however, that seems less likely to have that discussion, as the Monday poll found. Researchers Lee Rainie and Aaron Smith noted that "28% of liberals have blocked, unfriended, or hidden someone on SNS [social networking sites]...compared with 16% of conservatives and 14% of moderates."
Almost a month after touting on-air their poll finding that 61% of Catholics supposedly backed President Obama's controversial birth control mandate, CBS failed to mention their most recent poll that found that 57% are now against the regulation. The network devoted an article to the new poll statistic on their website, but failed to cover it on their morning and evening newscasts Monday into Tuesday.
Instead, CBS Evening News and CBS This Morning did some damage control on behalf of the President, downplaying his "all-time low" approval number and claiming that "there's little that he [Obama] can do...in the short term to affect gas prices, and gas prices hurts his political chances," as anchor Charlie Rose put it. Their poll partners at the New York Times also buried the finding in their front-page article on the poll, and spun it by suggesting that women were "split" on the controversy.
Charlie Rose and Bob Schieffer were President Obama's Amen corner on the issue of gas prices on Tuesday's CBS This Morning. Rose shamelessly claimed, "The President has a point...There's little that he can do...in the short term to affect gas prices, and gas prices hurts his political chances." Schieffer replied, "That's right on all counts...the problem is...people think there are things he can do about it."
On Thursday's All Things Considered, Julie Rovner, NPR's resident ObamaCare flack, claimed that the U.S. Senate rejecting an amendment protecting religious liberty was "closer than the 63 percent majority that supports the contraceptive coverage requirement" from the federal government, according to the poll from the liberal Kaiser Family Foundation. The organization is an oft-used source for Rovner.
The group obtained the 63 percent figure by asking a question that omits the religious liberty component to the firestorm: "In general, do you support or oppose the new federal requirement that private health insurance plans cover the cost of birth control?" A Pew Research Poll from mid-February included that issue, and found that 48 percent supported an exemption for religious groups, versus 44 percent in support of the mandate.
When ABC, CBS, and NBC finally got around to covering -- after two weeks of silence -- the controversy over the Obama administration's mandate that religious institutions provide health insurance for abortifacients, sterilization, and birth control, the networks downplayed the religious freedom component to the story, casting it instead as a political dogfight between liberals and conservatives.
MRC analysts studied all 36 stories, interview segments and mentions of the HHS mandate story on the Big Three broadcast networks from January 30 through February 15. Out of the 91 talking heads who appeared as soundbites on their morning or evening programs (or a small number of guests on the morning shows), politicians far outnumbered Church officials, by a margin of 60 to 9.
On its Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning newscasts, CBS played up its most recent poll with the New York Times, which found that 61% of Catholics approve "President Obama's contraception policy," as a graphic on the CBS Evening News spun the recent federal government mandate that forces religious institutions to cover sterilization and birth control without a co-pay.
The left-leaning outlets' poll question, however, completely glossed over the religious liberty component to the controversy over the policy, asking only, "What about for religiously-affiliated employers, such as a hospital or university? Do you support or oppose a recent federal requirement that their health insurance plans cover the full cost of birth control for their female employees?"
The downward slide of media credibility continues. A Pew survey released a few days ago found 67 percent of Americans see “a great deal” or “fair amount” of “political bias” in the news media, a record high for the poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press which pegged the level at 63 percent just four months ago. Specifically:
Currently, 37 percent of Americans say there is a great deal of bias in news coverage and 30 percent say there is a fair amount of bias. Far fewer see not too much bias (21 percent) or none at all (10 percent). The percentage saying there is a great deal of bias has increased six points, from 31 percent to 37 percent, since 2008.
On Tuesday, NPR somehow thought a poll commissioned by abortion behemoth Planned Parenthood on the controversy over an ObamaCare birth control mandate was newsworthy enough to play up on its website. But later in the day, on All Things Considered, a show that reaches millions in the U.S., the media outlet spotlighted how the "new polling...suggests most voters, including Catholics, support the measure."
Correspondent Scott Horsley noted the "survey released today by Public Policy Polling," but completely failed to mention Planned Parenthood's name during his report. Horsley also highlighted a disturbing strategy from the pro-mandate camp without: "Supporters of the new policy are belatedly trying to refocus attention in a more popular direction, away from religious freedom and towards women's health care."
Joe Scarborough had a jocular way this morning of pointing out the pro-Dem bias in ABC/Washington Post polls.
On Morning Joe, after Mark Halperin cited a new poll from the conglomerate with many findings favorable to President Obama, Scarborough facetiously asked "does Axelrod poll for ABC?" He went on to detail the way the polling combine consistently puts its fat left thumb of the scales for Dems. Video after the jump.
Newt Gingrich has surged to the lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination with the strong support of evangelical Christian voters. To some, given Gingrich's personal life, this support is puzzling. Whatever else people say about Mitt Romney, his personal life seems above reproach and a good role model for others.
But Gingrich benefits from the fact that when it comes to ethics, voters always grade politicians on a curve. Among Republican primary voters nationwide, 68 percent believe the former House speaker's ethical standards are at least as good as those of most other politicians. Even 51 percent of Romney supporters and 74 percent of Rick Santorum's voters view the ethics of Gingrich as the norm for his peers.
On Thursday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams was eager to share new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll numbers with viewers as he touted this headline from the results: "Our poll is also showing evidence this race is hurting the GOP, and we could see more of that tonight at the next debate..."
In a vain attempt to justify President Obama's claim that "America is back," on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd excitedly announced to viewers: "In our new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, improvement in three key categories seems to indicate the statistical green shoots about the economy is now actually penetrating the American psyche."
So what stunning reversal of public sentiment did the new poll reveal? Here it is: "The big number, of course, is whether the country is headed in the right direction. In December, it was 22%. Now it shot up seven [eight] points to 30%. That's a one-year high." The graphic on screen showed that 61% of Americans still believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction.