Tuesday, February 28, 2006

GRASPING AT STRAWS

Greg Sheffield over at Newsbusters thinks he’s on to something:

“CBS Slants Bush Poll in Favor of Democrats”

http://newsbusters.org/blog/21

The subject of his scrutiny is a new CBS poll that puts GWB’s overall approval rating at just 34%. It’s the sample breakdown that has Greg all a-lather…

For the highlights:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/02/27/opinion/polls/main1350874.shtml

For the data:

http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/poll_bush_022706.pdf

For an indirect CBS response to all the “Gregs” out there:

http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2006/02/28/publiceye/entry1352504.shtml

Greg – you’re grasping at straws. I hope this is just ignorance; that’s excusable. Any poll is an arbitrary measure whose only value is in its own internal consistency. If you want to insist CBS is deliberately slanting the poll, go ahead – it doesn’t matter, as long as they slant it the same way every time. Did you complain back in December when the same poll gave GWB a 5 point “bump?”

And they do “slant,” or weight, the poll the same every time, within a narrow margin. Over at Mystery Pollster

http://www.mysterypollster.com/

Mark Blumenthal notes “Some will no doubt seize on the fact that the latest CBS News sample is a few points more Democratic on party ID (37%) than on their last three surveys (34% in late January, 33% in early January and 32% in December), although the Republican percentage (28%) is about the same as the last three surveys (27%, 29% and 28% respectively).  However, the difference in the party results does not explain the drop in the Bush job rating, which occurs across all three categories.

And it does. Here’s the most recent previous poll:

http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/CBSNews_polls/JANB-GWB.PDF

This poll starts out with a significantly different cross-section but is weighted in more or less to match the series, as it should be.

And among Republicans, between the end of January and the end of February the President’s support declined from 83% to 72%, which is worse than the overall decline of 42% to 34%...

So go ahead, Greg… Put more makeup on that pig… I mean elephant… No matter what you put on top, we’ll all know what’s underneath…


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