The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

Did the New York Times and CBS News ask leading questions to twist Wisconsin polling data results?

The New York Times and CBS News have released a general public poll on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s budget plan as it relates to public sector unions, and critics are saying the poll results don’t necessarily support the conclusions drawn in the Gray Lady’s Tuesday front-page story.

The Times story was titled, “Majority in Poll Back Employees in Public Sector Unions.” But the paper and CBS used phrases such as “taking away” collective bargaining rights when conducting the poll.

Conservative pollster Scott Rasmussen told The Daily Caller, “There’s an awful lot in common ground between their poll and ours.” Rasmussen’s mid-February poll, which showed the public on Walker’s side, received criticism from Times pollster Nate Silver. Rasmussen found that 48 percent of respondents sided with Walker and 38 percent sided with unions, by asking respondents, “In the dispute between the governor and the union workers, do you agree more with the governor or the union for teachers and other state employees?”

On his NYTimes.com blog, Silver argued that Rasmussen’s data was skewed because of other questions he asked, such as, “Does the average public employee in your state earn more than the average private sector worker in your state, less than the average private sector worker in your state, or do they earn about the same amount?” and “Should teachers, firemen and policemen be allowed to go on strike?”

Silver contended that the thought of “strikes” could “invoke” a certain feeling about unions in respondents. Silver refused to comment for this story.

Rasmussen said the New York Times survey confirms a lot of his findings, but, “you have to read carefully what’s being asked and what’s being looked at.”

“They show a very modest net favorable rating for unions, the same as we did,” Rasmussen said. “What I found fascinating in the New York Times’ survey is that 37 percent of Americans said they think unions have too much influence on American life and politics. Only half that number, 19 percent, say they [unions] have too little influence.” That fact appears at the bottom of the Times story.

  • brunnegd

    The first question I ask when I see poll results is: What were the questions?
    Poll takers can get any answer they want with the right questions. And I am not taking sides between Rasmussen and the NYT/CBS. Just a statement of fact.

  • Pots

    The only person I really trust is Nate Silver. His poll analysis has been dead on for the most recent elections. The last presidential election he got everything correct down to the districts of every state days before the election.

  • Pingback: Tuesday Link-Around « Nice Deb

  • Tvidie

    Those polls are bogus surveys taken by corrupt media whose sole interest is to prop up liberal causes. Why don’t they ask the question this way:

    WISCONSIN DISPUTE OPINION SURVEY BY A COMPLETELY NON-BIASED POLLSTER:

    QUESTION:
    If your state had a 3 Billion dollar deficit:

    (1) Do you approve or disapprove of more government spending?

    (2) Do you approve or disapprove of government union workers on average making more in salary and benefits than the taxpayers who pay them?

    (3) Would you favor or disapprove of government union workers paying just half in health and pension taxes than private sector employees?

    (4) To cut the 3 Billion dollar deficit, do you approve or disapprove of reducing government union worker’s collective bargaining rights to wages and salary; and no longer for benefits?

    GEE I WONDER WHAT THE RESULTS WOULD BE???? I BET THAT 90% ACROSS THE BOARD WOULD AGREE WITH CONSERVATIVES IN THIS POLL.

  • thephranc

    The only poll that matters was in november and the unions lost.