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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Faulty Polls Lead to Faulty Conclusions

Ever since the Congressional Budget Office released its findings that the Kennedy Health Care Bill would not only cost a trillion dollars over ten years but would only cover one third of those currently uninsured, the Democrats have been scrambling to find something to shift the debate back in their favor. The Democrats may have found it in a poll done by the New York Times. The poll found that 85% of respondents favored an overhaul of our health care system. (no surprise there) It furthermore found that 72% of respondents favored the public option including 52% of Republicans. Can there really be this much support for universal health care coverage?

Taking a look at the internals of the poll we can see that the sample is so off that it raises questions of not only competence but frankly corruption. The poll found that respondents voted 48-25% for Obama. Yet, the country only voted 53-46% for Obama. So, clearly the sample is weighted heavily toward Obama voters. Despite what is clearly a faulty poll, the Democrats, and their media allies, have rushed to tout its results as proof that their side is right. Here's how Froma Harrop used the poll in a column urging the president to pass health care reform asap.

President Obama has a green light and open eight-lane highway for health-care reform. But somehow the guy can't put his foot on the gas. He hedges in neutral while some fellow Democrats muck up policy and Republicans demagogue them into mush.

A commanding 85 percent of Americans want "fundamental changes" in American health care, according to a recent New York Times-CBS News poll.

On the allegedly controversial "public option" -- a government-run plan that would compete with private insurers -- 72 percent are in favor. And that includes half of self-identified Republicans.

Here's how Chuck Schumer used the poll.

Nonetheless, two recent news media polls have found public support for a government plan, even if many people are unsure about its implications. The most recent survey, a New York Times-CBS News poll released Sunday, found that 72 percent supported the idea, including half of those who identified themselves as Republicans.

"The polling data backs up our subjective view that to make health care reform work, you need a public option," said Schumer.

Then Andrea Mitchell at MSNBC challenged Jon Cornyn using the very same poll. Both Reuters and CBS ran stories touting this poll. ABC has also cited the poll in their coverage of health care.

Now, there's absolutely no evidence of out and out corruption. Though, it's rather curious that this particular poll has received so much attention. Rasmussen had their own polling and their results are far less clear. (it's about even) Yet, not only has that poll not received nearly the media attention, but it's never mentioned by anyone touting the New York Times poll. It's almost as though a corrupt media, corrupted a poll, and then their friends and colleagues used this corrupted poll in a coordinated media effort to shift the debate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Its received so much attention because Media Matters et. al. have been alleging corruption in the media for *not* discussing it along with the latest batch of polls from last week that allegedly showed support for Obama waning.

In any case, if you're going to allege something that severe, perhaps you could convince me that the majority of the persons polled who did not state who they voted for voted for Obama.