Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Media Touting Bogus Poll on Bush Approval

We got a call from a Wisconsin Public Radio producer today, wanting us to talk about President Bush’s “all time low” poll ratings.

We were in class, and by the time we got back, he had had to get somebody else because of a looming deadline.

But the CBS Poll that shows President Bush with only 34% approval is clearly an “outlier” — a data point that’s out of line with other data.

Real Clear Politics now, by averaging the last five polls, shows Bush at 40.4% approval.

Not real robust, but not a record low either.

A Cook Political Report poll done at the same time as the CBS poll shows Bush at 40%.

And a Rasmussen poll shows him at 43%.

Brian Collar, of the GOP3.COM blog, has noticed the cause of the odd CBS result: the CBS poll includes many more Democrats than Republicans.

(Check page 18 of the PDF file linked above.)

Even after the pollster finished weighting the sample (and the published results are based on the weighted sample), it contained 289 Republicans and 381 Democrats.

Reliable polls invariably show Democrats and Republicans virtually tied in terms of identifiers in the voting age population.

Why haven’t the media done what Collar quite easily did? Apparently, they like to report that Bush in in political trouble, and don’t look too hard for flaws in any poll that tells them what they want to hear.

Unfortunately, this includes the Campus Tavern blog, which also jumped on the story.

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