The latest New York Times/CBS News poll, focused on gun control, showed gains for stricter gun laws and (coincidentally?) made the front page of the national edition, in a report by Michael Cooper and Dalia Sussman, under a wishful headline: "Massacre Sways Public In Way Others Did Not."
But they buried findings in the same poll that show 74 percent of Americans support conservative ideas of stationing armed guards in public places like schools and blaming Hollywood's culture of violence.
Thursday's New York Times front page included a report by Michael Cooper (pictured) and Dalia Sussman on a new CBS News/Quinnipiac University/New York Times poll of likely voters in the crucial states of Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin after Romney's choice as running mate Medicare reformer Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin: "In Poll, Obama Is Given Trust Over Medicare."
Showing how the same findings can be interpreted in politically slanted ways, the Times even squeezed in a front-page graphic of Obama's superior standing on Medicare in the swing states of Ohio, Florida, and Wisconsin, but downplayed the tightening of the actual electoral race in Florida and Wisconsin, which was picked up on by other outlets reading the same poll data.
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.
The New York Times today touted two polls that supposedly demonstrate support for the Democratic position on unemployment benefits. But a further examination of the poll questions reveals that their findings were inaccurate; the questions misrepresented the issues at play, and the Republican position on the matter.
"Two national polls published last week suggest that most Americans are on [Democrats'] side of this debate," wrote Dalia Sussman. How she knows that fact is a mystery, given that the GOP argument -- that benefits should be extended and paid for with unused stimulus funds -- was never offered as an option to those polled.
Both polls asked, essentially, if respondents thought it was more important to extend unemployment benefits, or to preserve PayGo rules. Majorities said they thought extending benefits is more important. But under the GOP plan, the two are not mutually exclusive. Nowhere in either poll were respondents asked whether they would favor paying for extended benefits with unused stimulus funds. Neither the Times nor anyone else can accurately claim that voters favor one approach over the other since the GOP position was not an option.
Usually the Times team of Adam Nagourney and Megan Thee handle the poll stories, and usually Obama comes off looking great. Perhaps the switch to Zeleny and Sussman helps explains why today's off-lead poll story is less laudatory of Obama, although that might also be a recognition that his numbers aren't quite as favorable this time around.
One thing hasn't changed: The poll's pro-Democrat "weighting" continues. There were complaints in early April, the last time CBS News and the Times teamed up for a poll, that the poll's "weighting" process produced far more self-identified Democrat than Republican respondents, which would certainly tilt the paper's findings to the left.
In that last poll, NYT/CBS managed to turn a eight-point raw Democratic advantage of respondents (35%-27%) into a sixteen-point margin (39%-23%) through its mysterious weighting process. "Weighting" itself is standard polling practice, but the April gap was wide enough to draw questions of pro-Democratic favoritism.
This time around, the gap between the official number and the raw numbers is far wider.