Give the New York Times points for nerve, anyway. Chief political reporter Adam Nagourney managed to take the paper's new poll, full of bad news for President Obama and Democrats, and to change the subject, twisting the findings to suggest that Republicans were the party in trouble, in Friday's front page story: “Obama Fares Better in Poll Than G.O.P." The online headline is similar: "Obama Has Edge Over G.O.P. With Public."
Nagourney, with co-writer Megan Thee-Brenan, entirely passed over several interesting tidbits from the poll (you can read a .PDF version here) which reflected badly on the prospects of Obama and the Democrats. The negative stuff that was brought to light was buried, while positive but irrelevant trends for Obama were placed up high, in paragraph three.
That's where Nagourney gave Obama credit for being on the popular side of the issue of gays serving openly in the military, an issue that wasn't even on the national agenda before Obama's State of the Union address two weeks ago. Meanwhile, deep public opposition to Obama's long-time signature issue -- his health care plan -- wasn't addressed until paragraph 10, and then only lightly.
Touting the latest CBS News/New York Times poll on Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer concluded that Americans were upset with President Obama and Congress simply over the influence of "special interest groups," without mentioning massive government spending or ObamaCare as other possible reasons.
After reporting that 70% of Americans were "dissatisfied or angry about the way things are going in Washington," Smith focused on the poll question about special interests: "8 in 10 say Congress is more interested in serving the needs of special interest groups rather than the people they represent." Schieffer explained: "In order to raise that money you've got to sign off on so many special interest groups before you get to Washington that it's very difficult to compromise once you do get here."
However, neither Smith nor Schieffer brought up the part of the poll that showed the desire by a majority of Americans for smaller government: "59% of Americans think the government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals....56% would choose a smaller government providing fewer services over a bigger government providing more services, up from 48% last spring and the highest percentage in more than a decade."
Salon columnist Max Blumenthal continues to get flak for his slanderous, factually-challenged hit piece on conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe last week. The column, premised on a host of omissions and baseless assumptions, contended that O'Keefe's is a racist.
Blumenthal's latest critic is Columbia Journalism Review, Old Media's paragon of journalistic elitism. CJR has requested that he correct but one of the many errors that comprise his column.
But CJR really has a problem, it seems, that Blumenthal has given ammunition to critics who claim Old Media is rife with liberal bias. CJR contributor Greg Marx lamented that Blumenthal and other quasi-journalists, in ignoring facts to support their agendas,give "ready-made ammunition for that broader campaign."
A poll conducted last week by Public Policy Polling found that among 1,151 registered voters surveyed, Fox News Channel crushed the other networks in trust, with 49 percent of respondents saying they trusted FNC. That's 10 percentage points more than CNN, and 14 points more than MSNBC, the home of Obama-boosting or leftist personalities such as Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz.
The survey-related quote comes from a post at PPP's blog. Tom Jensen, its author, pecked in quite a presumptuous final paragraph there (italics are Jensen's):
These numbers suggest quite a shift in what Americans want from their news. A generation ago Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in the country because of his neutrality. Now people trust Fox the most precisely because of its lack of neutrality. It says a lot about where journalism is headed.
Huh? Surely this must be simply a rogue PPP staffer's uninformed rant. Uh, no. At Politico's coverage of the poll, reporter Andy Barr quoted PPP's President making this putrid pronouncement about what the poll results putatively personify:
On Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer twisted the meaning of a recent Washington Post poll on the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts: “Three-fourths of those voters...said they wanted Brown to work with Democrats to get Republican ideas into legislation....the vote for Brown was not so much a vote for or against policy or party, as it was a vote against the process itself.”
Schieffer seemed to completely ignore the fact that the poll showed 65% of those who voted for Brown did so to “express opposition to the Democratic agenda in Washington.” Instead, Schieffer tried to spin the data as evidence that voters were upset with both parties: “People don’t like the political games....if the two sides could somehow pay less attention to the voices on the fringes of the Left and the Right, take the Massachusetts voters’ advice, sit down together and see what they can agree on, who knows? They might get something done.”
At the top of his commentary, Schieffer pretended that the meaning of Brown’s extraordinary win was uncertain, rather than a rebuke of the Democratic Party: “Figuring out what Scott Brown’s victory meant has set off a fiercer debate than trying to divine the meaning of the Book of Job. We were all certain it meant something profound, we just weren’t sure what.”
It is a strange paradigm among much of the mainstream media that plummeting poll numbers are of far greater import for Republicans than they are for Democrats. That, at least, is the logical conclusion of the relative silence of major media outlets on the steep decline in President Obama's poll numbers compared with the decline in President Bush's.
According to an Allstate/National Journal poll released Wednesday, 50 percent of Americans would vote against President Obama if the presidential elections were held today. Only 39 percent say they would vote to re-elect the president.
But so far, this stunning development--given the President's sky-high approval ratings upon entering office--has gone seemingly unnoticed by the major television networks and most prominent print publications. Aside from some prominent blogs (whose coverage is by no means substandard), the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Washington Examiner are so far the only major outlets to report on the poll, according to a google news search (as of 2:00 PM).
A new survey from Scott Rasmussen finds that more than half of all voters (51%) believe "the average reporter is more liberal than they are," and two-thirds (67%) think the media have "too much power and influence over government decisions."
Rasmussen's poll was released Thursday. Perhaps proving the point, on Friday, MSNBC anchor Savannah Guthrie reacted to polls showing the Democrats losing ground in Massachusetts by exclaiming: "This is bad." According to Rasmussen: "Only 20% of all voters say most reporters try to offer unbiased coverage of a political campaign. Seventy-two percent (72%) say most reporters try to help the candidate they want to win."
On Friday, New York Times reporter Abby Goodnough described the surprise struggles of Mass. Democrat Martha Coakley, once considered a shoo-in to fill the Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy, but now facing a strong challenge from Republican Scott Brown: "In Massachusetts, Surprise Anxiety for Favored Democrats."
Goodnough's hook was a Rasmussen Reports poll showing Brown within nine points of Coakley. But she emphasized that "many news organizations dispute its methodology." Yet Rasmussen called the 2008 election with far greater accuracy than did the Times.
Martha M. Coakley, the Democrat running for Senator Edward M. Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts, had seemed so certain of winning the special election on Jan. 19 that she barely campaigned last month.
But the dynamic has changed in recent days. The news that two senior Democratic senators will retire this year in the face of bleak re-election prospects has created anxiety and, even in this bluest of states, a sense that the balance of power has shifted dramatically from just a year ago.
With the holidays over and public attention refocused on the race, Ms. Coakley's insistence on debating her Republican opponent, Scott P. Brown, only with a third-party candidate present has drawn mounting criticism.
And a new poll that showed a competitive race between Ms. Coakley and Mr. Brown has generated buzz on conservative blogs and energized the Brown campaign -- though many news organizations dispute its methodology.
Anchoring CNN Tonight, correspondent Erica Hill reported the findings of a new poll:
While Democrats and the president may be cheering the bill's passage, a majority of Americans still oppose the Senate plan. According to a CNN Opinion Research Corporation poll, 56 percent say they are against the measure. Now that's a slight shift actually in favor of the plan from a weeks ago. When as you can see opposition was as high as 61 percent, 42 percent support the plan, that number also up at six points.
And when asked for the effect the health care bill would have on their own family, 34 percent of respondents thought it would change things for the better, 37 percent thought it would make things worst. While 39 percent said it would have no effect. And when you figure the sampling error, almost works out to even across the board.
The responses to the second question total 110 percent, an unlikely result. Unless, of course, the poll were taken in Chicago by federally funded ACORN operatives. That doesn't appear to be the case. The actual poll question (#23) and results:
Yesterday at NewsBusters, Geoffrey Dickens documented the furor of MSNBC's Chris Mathews over the results of an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll (PDF).
Specifically, Mathews was irked that the Tea Party Movement (TPM) was viewed quite a bit more favorably than the two major political parties by those polled (VP=Very Positive; SP=Somewhat Positive; N=Neutral; SN=Somewhat Negative; VN=Very Negative; DK=No Opinion):
Tea Party Movement: VP-20%; SP-21%; N-21%; SN-10%; VN-13%; DK-15%
Mathews dismissed the TPM's convincing advantage over the established parties, especially in higher strong positives and lower strong negatives, as being the result of a biased poll question working in the Tea Partiers' favor. I don't think so. In fact, I think the result occurred even though the question is loaded against the TPM.
Here is the full text of the Tea Party poll question (Question 14b, Page 11; bolds are mine):
Eight weeks ago, The Washington Post topped its own front-page with its own ABC-Washington Post poll announcing that the public strongly favored a "public option" in health care, by 57 to 40 percent. Their latest poll is much worse: "Negatives abound in poll," read the subhead. So it was buried on page 6 Wednesday. On the front page instead, a happy-talk headline: "Health bill’s prospects improve as Lieberman signals support."
Tuesday's conservative "Code Red" rally in Washington wasn't buried in the Post. It was nowhere in the Post.
The actual poll story by Dan Balz and Jon Cohen reports that 44 percent support current health-care legislation, and 51 percent disapprove. Approval of Obama’s handling of health-care has gone sour: 44 percent approve, while 53 percent disapprove. But the Post’s front page is still touting "Health care bill’s prospects improve" as their own poll shows a collapse of public support.
White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, recently ridiculed a Gallup poll which showed the President's approval ratings at a record low for this stage of his presidency, for seemingly no other reason than they showed the President in a negative light. Gibbs referred to the Gallup polling organization as a wildly fluctuating EKG, labeling their results as the equivalent of ‘a 6-year-old with a crayon.'
Predictably, this administration has managed to throw a temper tantrum at every instance of failure that has defined them. The only surprise here, being that Gibbs was capable of taking the pacifier out of his mouth long enough to make the analogy.
On the other hand, it was mere months ago that Gibbs himself used Gallup poll numbers to demonstrate support for President Obama's economic stimulus plan - a stimulus plan that a 6-year-old with a crayon would have voted ‘no' on.
On Friday night's Anderson Cooper 360, the CNN anchor tried hard to spin bad polling news for Obama. "In the latest CNN/Opinion Research poll, 48 percent, less than half, said they approve of President Obama's performance, while 50 percent disapprove. The question is, how significant is this shift? Some folks will say, 'Look, it's just one poll.'"
But any White House would shudder at the tumble. CNN's poll on November 13-15 was 55-42 approve, and just three weeks later, it's 48 to 50. On Friday, NBC's Chuck Todd observed on Twitter, "CNN's poll had consistently shown the president with a slightly higher approval rating than either the Gallup, Pew or NBC/WSJ surveys."
Cooper brought in analyst David Gergen to explore whether this kind of tumble has been a historic problem for presidents. They puzzled over the biggest collapse, among non-college educated whites, guessing that's about the economy, not war.
COOPER: So it's not so much about Afghanistan, which was obviously a big story this week, and liberal Democrat dissatisfaction with him sending in more troops. It's really about money, the bad situation a lot of folks are still in?
The first question in a poll conducted by CBS’s 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair magazine asked Americans to nominate a fifth face for Mt. Rushmore and included Barack Obama among the contenders. While President Kennedy took the lead with 29%, Obama came in fourth with 16%, just behind Franklin Roosevelt at 18% and Ronald Reagan at 20%.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-hosts Harry Smith and Maggie Rodriguez discussed the poll with CBSNews.com’s Cali Carlin and Vanity Fair’s Michael Hogan. Smith thought the Rushmore question was “terrific” and guessed that “it’s got to be between Kennedy and FDR.” Rodriguez made the same prediction: “if you know anything about history, you’d have to do FDR because he served four terms. But I think given our current population, most people probably said Kennedy.” Neither of them suggested Republican choices Reagan or Eisenhower would earn such a place of honor.
Carlin confirmed those guesses: “You’re right, it is JFK. People want to further that Camelot feeling and they would add him.” She then added: “But about 16% wanted our current president, Barack Obama, even though he hasn’t even served a full year in office. He got fourth place.” Rodriguez observed: “That’s unbelievable. Maybe just because of the historic significance of him being African American.” Carlin expressed skepticism: “Yeah, it could be a little premature though, maybe like that Nobel Prize.”
On today's American Morning, anchor Kiran Chetry engaged Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele in a discussion of the Democrats' health care bill. Citing a recent CNN poll, she claimed that a majority wants "some kind of public option":
CHETRY: I know one of the things that Republicans are very much against is the public option. And this is a huge hurdle that has to pass. This would mean that the government would have a government-sponsored insurance plan competing with private insurers. And that's a very controversial move.
But our latest CNN poll shows that 56 percent are now in favor of some sort of public option. What is that telling you, as Republicans go out there and talk to their constituents...
STEELE: Well, it doesn't...
CHETRY: ... about the need for some sort of affordable insurance?
STEELE: Well, it's a nice poll. I like to see how the question was asked to the people, because that number tells me that they don't know exactly what it is. When you say some kind of public option...
MSM polls may say a majority don't consider Sarah Palin qualified to be President (60 percent according to ABC News-Washington Post), but just as many people recognize the media's unfair hostility toward her. “About six in 10 Americans (61 percent) think Palin has been treated unfairly by the press,” a Fox News-Opinion Dynamics survey released on Friday -- and highlighted on Saturday's Fox Newswatch on FNC -- discovered. That's up from 58 percent in January. Half as many, 31 percent, said she's been covered “fairly,” with 8 percent answering “don't know.”
While an overwhelming 83 percent of Republicans consider media coverage unfair toward Palin, so do a solid 65 percent majority of independents -- and even a significant minority of Democrats: 37 percent. (PDF of the Palin portion of the poll of 900 registered voters taken November 17-19. Snip below the jump of the full results for the question: “Do you think Sarah Palin has been treated fairly or unfairly by the press?”)
That the Associated Press's basement-level poll-cooking and poll-reporting standards are quite low, and quite agenda-driven, might as well be an article of faith by this time.
But the wire service-commissioned poll on health care, and Erica Warner's report on it (saved here for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes; HT JammieWearingFool via Instapundit; the full poll report in PDF format is here) plumbs new depths of partisanship while making errors of both omission and commission.
Warner and AP want the big takeaway to be that taxing "the rich" is the idea the public overwhelmingly favors to pay for ObamaCare -- never mind that the same public also opposes the plan itself.
What follows is a graphic containing selected paragraphs from Werner's report:
As several networks run around with new ratify-our-liberal-bias polls insisting that Sarah Palin is completely unqualified to be president -- exquisitely timed to ruin her book tour and channel all their very obvious and partisan Palin-loathing -- where are the polls that are about 2009, as opposed to 2012?
A scan of Gallup.com and Pollingreport.com suggests that neither Gallup nor any of the networks are asking about the Fort Hood shooting -- either about whether it was terrorism or about whether it shakes people's confidence in the government's ability to protect American citizens from domestic terrorism attacks. Rasmussen had a poll that found 60 percent think Major Nidal Hasan should be tried for terrorism (and liberal blogger Greg Sargent also pulled out of that poll that a majority worried about a backlash against Muslims.)
On the KSM trial decision, there is one poll by CNN and the Opinion Research Corporation, but there is no question about the judgment of President Obama or Attorney General Holder. As Polling Report listed the questions:
In a week of surprising polls, Gallup has just released another that will raise some eyebrows given legislation just passed in the House last Saturday:
[T]his year marks the first time in the history of this trend that less than half of Americans say ensuring healthcare coverage for all is the federal government's responsibility...The current poll results indicate that, with the renewed healthcare debate since Obama took office, Americans have become less convinced that it is an appropriate goal for the federal government to take on the responsibility of ensuring that all Americans have healthcare coverage.
That's an eye catcher.
And given the ObamaCare baton just having been passed to the Senate, one would think an honest, impartial media would give these results ample attention in the coming days (h/t Hot Air):
Brent Bozell was hardly alone yesterday in touting new polls showing a surge for conservatism in reaction to Barack Obama's forever-lengthening statist agenda. Also making the rounds is Nile Gardiner's blog for the Telegraph (of the UK) suggesting President Obama has failed to defeat American conservatism:
This week’s striking Gallup poll on political ideology is further confirmation that the United States is in essence a conservative nation, which has ironically become even more conservative under Barack Obama. According to Gallup, 40 percent of Americans describe their political views as conservative, 36 percent as moderate and 20 percent as liberal. This is the first time conservatives have outnumbered moderates in America since 2004.
The Washington Post touted a new poll on Tuesday that popular support is increasing for a government-run "public option" health care system – just as liberal Democrats try to push that into the Senate Finance Committee bill. The headline was "Public option gains support: Clear majority now backs plan." So it’s not surprising, as Ed Morrissey found at Hot Air, that the Post is stuffing its poll sample with a few extra Democrats:
The sampling comprises 33% Democrats, as opposed to only 20% Republicans. That thirteen-point spread is two points larger than their September polling, at 32%/21%. More tellingly, it’s significantly larger than their Election Day sample, which included 35% Democrats to 26% Republicans for a gap of nine points, about a third smaller than the gap in this poll. Of course, that’s when they were more concerned about accuracy over political points of view.
The Post’s poll (illustrated by a chart) found respondents favored a public option "to compete with" private insurance by a margin of 57 to 40 percent. But even with the polling sample tilted toward the Democrats, some less favorable findings weren’t in the headline, as Dan Balz and Jon Cohen reported:
On Tuesday’s Situation Room, CNN’s Jack Cafferty highlighted a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll which found that Americans apparently support the public option and mandatory insurance, and most of the viewer responses that he read supported these left-wing positions. Cafferty didn’t explicitly voice his agreement with the poll results, but presented his own liberal proposal for health care.
Cafferty touted how “a majority of Americans supports two of the more controversial parts of health care reform: the public option and requiring everyone to buy insurance” during his 4 pm “Question of the Hour” segment: “A new Washington Post/ABC News Poll shows independents and seniors, both critical voting blocs, have warmed up to the idea of a public insurance option. Fifty-seven percent favor the public option. Fifty-six percent support making it mandatory for all Americans to buy health insurance, either through their employers, on their own, or through Medicare or Medicaid.”
Ed Morrisey of HotAir.com pointed out on Tuesday morning that this poll has a skewed sample. On the other hand, the CNN commentator did however subsequently note that “there’s even broader opposition to how to pay for all of this. Sixty-one percent are opposed to the proposed tax on so-called Cadillac insurance plans, and nearly 70 percent say they think any health care bill will increase the federal deficit, although almost half of those people say it would be worth it to grow the deficit in order to achieve true health care reform.”
At the top of the 4:00PM ET hour of MSNBC Live, co-anchor David Shuster claimed the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll “numbers appear to back up the concerns of mainstream Republicans worried about the impact of birthers, tenthers, and town hall screamers....moderates have been frightened away and party identification has dropped to the lowest level in nearly three decades, since Nixon and Watergate.”
Shuster later introduced a debate segment on the issue, declaring: “if a new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News is any indication, the GOP is in the worst shape it’s been in nearly three decades. Asked which party they identified themselves with, 33% said Democratic while just 20% said Republican.” What he failed to mention was that the poll also showed that those who identified themselves as conservative stood at 38%, a two-point increase from the last poll conducted on September 12. However, liberal identification stood at just 23%, a one-point decrease from the September poll.
In what the White House may consider the latest salvo in a so-called news "war," Fox News reported Friday that President Obama's approval rating has slipped below 50 percent:
Obama's job approval rating comes in at 49 percent this week. That's down just one percentage point from late September, but it marks a new low approval for the president — and the first time the Fox News poll has measured his approval below 50 percent.
That’s 49 percent approval, and 45 percent disapproval. Check out the Polling Report chart: Fox found 50 percent approval and 42 at the end of September – and a 54 to 39 approval-disapproval gap in mid-September. The Fox dispatch began with this statistic:
In what may be the ultimate job rating, 43 percent of voters say that they would vote to re-elect President Obama if the 2012 election were held today, down from 52 percent six months ago, from April 22-23, 2009.
Monday’s CBS Early Show touted a new 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll about American cultural attitudes, with CBSNews.com’s Cali Carlin asking co-host Maggie Rodriguez one of the survey questions: "Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Angelina Jolie or Beyonce...Who would you want to swap lives with for a week?" Rodriguez immediately responded: "Hands down, Michelle Obama."
Carlin happily declared that Rodriguez, who had not yet seen the poll results, was "in step with mainstream America." Carlin further explained: "26% of women we surveyed said they’d want to switch with Michelle Obama. In fact overall, Washington beat out Hollywood, surprisingly. So both Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton beat out Angelina Jolie and Beyonce."
The poll had a similar question for men, as Vanity Fair online editor Michael Hogan asked co-host Harry Smith: "Okay, so the choices are George Clooney, Bruce Springsteen, Barack Obama, or Tom Brady. So what do you think?" Smith went the Hollywood route: "George Clooney... I mean that’s who I would switch places with. I mean, I know he wants to switch places with me, obviously." Rodriguez joked: "We could arrange that."
The latest New York Times-CBS poll was reported by Adam Nagourney and Dalia Sussman for Friday's front page -- "Public Wary of Obama on War and Health Care, Poll Finds." The news wasn't great for Barack Obama's agenda, though Nagourney, the paper's chief political reporter, performed some helpful spinning for the president.
Revealingly, the poll still gives the president a 56% approval rating, one of his highest recent numbers. The Gallup poll, for example, has him in the low fifties of late, and Rasmussen Reports has him at 51% today.
One possible reason for Obama's relatively high standing is the Times' opaque "poll weighting" methodology. The "weighting" formula applied by the pollsters in this latest poll increased the gap between Democrat and Republican respondents from a "raw" six-point gap in actual respondenst (34%-28% Democrats over Republicans) to a 15-point chasm in the "weighted" final poll (37%-22% Democrats over Republicans).
Baier related how the university in Fairfield, Connecticut also determined “almost 70 percent think the 'media are intent on promoting' his presidency and 56 percent say the 'media are promoting his health care reform agenda without objective criticism.'”