Tuesday, March 13, 2012

When the facts contradict the narrative, print the narrative

That's how they roll at the NY Times.  Mickey Kaus examines how the Times spins poll results that don't help their hero:
These are not close results. It’s hard to read this poll and not conclude that, contrary to some accounts, Obama wasn’t such a genius to pick a fight over mandated contraception coverage–because he appears to be losing the public debate on the question. That’s a conclusion the Times story effectively hides from readers.
It’s also one possible explanation for Obama’s otherwise somewhat mystifying overall drop in approval during the period–March 7-11–when the poll was in the field. But not an approved explanation.
Gas prices are the official MSM explanation. Got it? Gas prices.
I guess that the Times conclusion that the polls are "reflecting volatility" isn't as flashy as the Weekly Standard's straightforward: "By 21-point margin, Americans oppose birth control mandate."  After all, numbers are confusing unless they can be used to explain confusion.  Margins of error and all that jazz.

Extra - Ace: "Washington Post in full 'Protect Obama' mode."


awfjqfew said...

The weight of your argument is based on multiple citations...from the Weekly Standard, National Review, and a conservative blogger.

We'll ignore this poll:


Clearly public opinion has completely flipped in a month. It couldn't have anything to do with how the questions were asked, or other factors, like gas prices.

Perhaps Rush Limbaugh's saucy comments made the difference, although his sponsors, who are motivated only by dollars and cents, don't seem to agree.

You have been studying politics far too long to pretend that rising gas prices don't affect polls. Stop it.

Just start every post by saying "I don't like Obama." and then proceed with whatever rationalizations make you feel good. It's more authentic.

Eric at work said...

I think it's pretty clear the focus of this post is that the media in general and the Times in particular is utterly in the tank for Obama. Their editorial page reads like a Jay Carney briefing.

Your argument makes no sense: gas prices are why the public has turned on the contraception mandate?

You're right about the wording though: your month-old poll was "Who wants stuff paid by somebody else?" This week's NY Times poll goes right to the heart of the argument: should religious groups be allowed to opt out of the mandate. By a wide gap, Americans said "yes." And by "wide" I mean 21% which is a number indicating quantity or magnitude.

Anonymous said...

The problem with that narrative is that the Pew poll has Obama's approval rating going up, to 50%. His margin's gone up 5 points in the last month, and 13 from January.

And a Reuters poll also has Obama moving up, to 50%. And Bloomberg has Obama at 48% (its first such survey in half a year). And Gallup has Obama up, at 49%. All four of those polls have come out this week.

What would explain those numbers? America's alleged revulsion over churches and baby pills? You mean Obama's approval would have risen 25 points if not for that?

Anonymous said...


Bloomberg, March 8-11:
77% say contraception should not be part of the U.S. political debate. Over 60% say the issue is one of health care (57% of men, 68% of women), while just 38% and 28% say it's about religious liberty.

ABC News/WashPost, March 7-11:
61% say insurance companies should fully cover birth control; 35% say no. If such insurance is provided through a religious employer, birth control coverage is still favored, 49% to 46%.

Eric said...

We like polls worded the way we like with demographics tilted one way.

In other news, I told the New York Times that I wasn't sure if you were drunk, brain-addled, or ignorant.

They reported that I was "conflicted."

Anonymous said...

You might want to hold off on the "only polls the way we [they] like" critique, until at least one other survey replicates - or even approaches - the dramatic results of the Times/CBS poll. As it is, it's an outlier. Although it's always encouraging to see conservatives citing the New York Times and CBS News.