Carol Platt Liebau: Spinning the Polls

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Spinning the Polls

A Los Angeles Times news analysis by Ron Brownstein contains the following language:

Two new national surveys found that about half of Americans backed Alito's confirmation. In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey released Monday, 49% said they supported his confirmation, 30% said they opposed it and 21% were uncertain; an ABC/Washington Post survey released Monday recorded similar results. In both surveys, Alito's support was slightly lower than the level recorded for Roberts as his hearings began in September.

Oh, really? Was Ron Brownstein referring to this ABC/WPost poll? ABC's coverage of it reads a little differently:

Overall, 53 percent of Americans support Alito's confirmation while 27 percent oppose oppose it, with 20 percent undecided. Views haven't changed substantially since President Bush nominated Alito in late October. In terms of public sentiment, he's in about the same position as John Roberts was at the opening of his hearings to become chief justice.

What a difference the reporting can make. Because the ABC/WPost poll could pretty accurately be read to conclude that "Americans favor Alito's confirmation by a margin of 2:1." Pretty different than the impression left by asserting that "about half of Americans backed Alito's confirmation."


Post a Comment

<< Home