A recent poll put out by Quinippiac University questioned 1,446 registered voters, 73% of whom were white, over the phone.
The consensus of this poll? That President Barrack Obama is the worst president since World War II. At least that’s the buzz from all the news outlets.
But the news doesn’t analyze these things. They just take the AP feed and or the university’s PR release and run it as is.
In other words, they give you the results while running attention-getting (and website click-through attracting) headlines, like “Obama’s the worst!” “GW Bush better than Obama!” and nonsense like that.
Did any bother to mention that the poll queried only 13% of black voters? Probably not.
Now some news outlets might, in an effort to show fairness in the makeup of the respondents that a 73% white majority lacks, provide the claimed political demographics of Republican 26%, Democrat 31%, and Independent 35% and say, “See? That’s a fair and equitable distribution.”
And at first blush, we might agree, until we read that 45% believe Mitt Romney would be doing a better job as President.
Sorry. I should have warned you. I’ll wait while you wipe off your monitor and keyboard, but c’mon! You should know better than to read this while drinking tea.
Back? Good. Now, seriously? Romney? You have to ask yourself, “How the Hell did Romney get 19 more percentage points than the 26% of those who claimed to be Republican?” Because in all honesty, who but hard-core conservatives would admit Romney was good at anything?
The answer is people don’t align themselves with political parties like they used to. So the pollsters asked the wrong question. They instead should have asked if the respondents were Conservative, Liberal/Progressive, or Moderate.
The results would have been more informative of the philosophical breakdown. For one thing, nobody would answer “Moderate” because no one wants to be thought of as wishy-washy, which is what all Americans think of when they think of Moderate. In fact, a picture of Michael Dukakis in a tank wearing an army helmet comes to mind when we think of a Moderate. Laughable.
For another, many people who claim to be Independent really aren’t. Not in the least. Every Independent, when you listen to them or watch what they post on social media, either skews to the right or to the left, but never ever in the middle. Most Tea Party members consider themselves Independent, not Republican, as do many Libertarians, but both share many conservative beliefs with Republicans.
So combine the 73% white with the fact that 45% actually think Romney wasn’t a complete asshole, and you end up with a poll that has as much credibility as a poll asserting most Americans want genetically-altered food without any GMO labeling only to discover the majority of respondents were actually employees of Monsanto.
Remember also, polls are just a snapshot in time, so you have to ask yourself, “What was happening from June 24 to June 27, 2014?” The answer is: Obama gave a talk on working families and said women of newborns should get paid leave (Gasp! That’s socialism!) there was escalating violence in Iraq which led to discussions of sending more troops (OMG! Bush had that won, now look!) the IRS commissioner was being grilled on the Hill (Obama is giving them marching orders to investigate everyone in the Tea Party!); to name just a few news items that would skew opinion against any standing President.
Given the apparent bias in the sampling, this poll needs to be taken with a large helping of salt. If nothing else, this poll and the furor surrounding it, is worth a good laugh.
Don’t take it seriously. But how could you when it came to the conclusion that Ronald Reagan was the greatest president since 1945?
Am I right?