Thursday, August 26, 2004
CNN's Political Analyst, Bill Schneider, Continues to Mislead Public
As the controversy about the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth continues weekly polls are used to measure the impact it has on each candidate. However the Senior Political Analyst, Bill Schneider continues to mislead the public about that impact. On todays "Inside Politics" with Judy Woodruff, Schneider is again caught embellishing the significance of recent polls. He makes several telling statements from the new CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll.
SCHNEIDER: That point came through. Immediately after the convention, 42 percent of voters said Kerry's military service made them more likely to vote for him, especially when they heard testimony like this.
SCHNEIDER: The debate over the charges monopolized the press coverage. The polls shows more than 80 percent of Americans saw or heard about the ad. Now, do they believe the charges? No. By better than 2-1, people believe Kerry is actually telling the truth about his service in Vietnam. But the controversy still had an impact.
So where is the deception. The new CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll is based on 1,004 adults. That hardly seems like 80% of the Americans that he claims saw or heard about the Swiftboat ad or the 2-1 figure cited as the number of American people who believe Kerry is telling the truth. Bill Schneider is misleading the American public.
His colleague, Judy Woodruff today also reported the following:
WOODRUFF: All right. Bill Schneider. A lot to look at in those numbers. Thank you very much. Well, our new poll also suggests that President Bush has not come out of the Swift Boat flap unscathed either. Fifty percent of those surveyed believe the president is responsible or some what responsible for the Swift Boat ads. And 56 percent say the president should denounce the ads.
The key is that she at least alluded to the fact that this result was based on a participant group and not the American public. A good start, but they need to go further and cite the sample size each time they report the results. Anything less is misleading.
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Accuracy in Media Features: "Manipulating Polling Data"
On Agust 23, 2004 Accuracy in Media (AIM) reported attempts to manipulate polling data after the Democratic Convention. Additionally they used some of our information and reported on our attempts to get the FCC to take action. The link will take you to their website. We are glad to have them join in this important issue. Hopefully the broadcast media will do the right thing and stop misleading the American public.
Monday, August 23, 2004
Real Clear Politics Reveals Sample Sizes
Real Clear Politics provides its website visitors with the sample sizes of national polls being conducted in the Presidential race.We applaud their effort for poviding the general public with a website to learn the meaning of the percentages that broadcast media uses to report results. We continue to encourage broadcast media to stop misleading the public and also report the sample sizes.
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
CNN Continues to Mislead the Public
Inside Politics, hosted by Candy Crowley today gave the following information. "A new showdown state poll leads the headlines in "Campaign News Daily." The latest survey finds John Kerry holding on to his edge over George W. Bush in Pennsylvania. According to a Quinnipiac University poll, Kerry has 48 percent, Bush received 43 percent. Kerry held a 7-point lead over Bush in a poll taken in early July." What they fail to tell you is that the poll is based on 1,430 Pennsylvania registered voters.
On Wolf Blitzer Reports today, Paula Zahn gave the results of a new CNN/Gallup poll for Ohio. "The poll found John Kerry leading President George Bush 52 percent to 42 percent among registered voters in Ohio. And when the Gallup organization attempted to calculate which of those voters would actually end up casting ballots if the election were held today, it is a different set of number. The results narrowed to Kerry to 48 percent and Bush to 46 percent, a two-point lead for Kerry along likely voters." Unfortunately the CNN or Gallup websites provide no information on the sample size.The same information was repeated by Lou Dobbs and other CNN personalities. It has been over a month since we contacted the FCC and Media Watchdog groups and to date only Comcast has responded. I like to suggest a new tactic. Send an email directly to CNN asking them not to corrupt the political process in our country and to report sample sizes with their poll results. The majority of Americans should not be unduely influenced by the opinions of several thousand. They should decide the issues for themselves.http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form1.html?39
Gallup Refuses to Answer Inquiry
A formal complaint was emailed to the Gallup Organization several weeks ago asking them to require broadcast media to cite the sample size everytime they use Gallup Poll information. Despite a commitment on their web site to contact people with concerns within two business days, they have yet to respond. On their website where they discuss survey methods the following statement was noted. "In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls."(http://gallup.com/content/print.aspx?ci=12760) The Gallup Organization acknowledges that even its scientific methods can be influenced. I am at a lost to understand a reluctance on their part to take a stand against the misuse of their poll results. Americans are encouraged to get involved in the political process and gather information about candidates and issues. The misuse of polls by broadcast media cuts that process short and gives the majority of Americans information based on what less than two thousand believe. Make your voice heard and contact the Gallup Organization. http://gallup.com/help/contactUs/
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Response from Comcast
Than you for writing recently about polls. I will cite your research in one of our Media Monitors. We are sending a complaint to USA Todayb I thought you might enjoy this one:
By Cliff Kincaid
In a story about how George Bush, not John Kerry, got a “bounce” from coverage of the Democratic National convention, Susan Page disclosed something significant about a poll done on the matter. She revealed, “Because the results were a surprise, USA TODAY extended the survey an additional night, to Sunday, to create a larger and more reliable sample.” In other words, because the media feared the results would undermine Kerry, they did their best to find more people for their “survey” who would validate the media’s assumption that Kerry would get the bounce. But it was not to be. They couldn’t find those Kerry supporters.
Despite the blatant manipulation of the polling data, Bush came out the winner. But the admission by Page demonstrates how these polls could possibly be rigged to produce the desired result. It shows that when there is a “surprise” in the polling data, the pollsters always have the option of extending the survey by polling more people over a longer period of time to produce different results.
The CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll showed the Kerry/Edwards ticket trailing Bush/Cheney 50% to 46% among likely voters, with independent candidate Ralph Nader at 2%. "Before the convention," USA Today reported, "the two were essentially tied, with Kerry at 47%, Bush at 46%." In her original story about the poll, Susan Page did not disclose that the survey was extended because the results were a “surprise” to those expecting a bounce for Kerry. Instead, she said that, “USA Today extended its survey to Sunday to get a fuller picture of what's happening.” By using the phrase, “a fuller picture of what’s happening,” Page made the exercise seem scientific. Among those predicting a Kerry bounce were NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell, who said there would be a 5-7 or 8 point bounce out of the convention for Kerry. Howard Fineman of Newsweek predicted "about 5" points for Kerry.