When John Ziegler first launched his website, How Obama Got Elected, his poll showing that Obama voters appeared ignorant of the campaign issues touched off a heated controversy over the results. Ziegler offered a double-or-nothing challenge to anyone who wanted to fund another Zogby survey of McCain voters, but Zogby dropped out of the project instead. Now John is back with a new survey — and it verifies the first:
The 12 “Zogby” questions were duplicated, one on the Keating scandal was added for extra balance. The results from Obama voters were virtually IDENTICAL in both polls.
Here are the highlights:
- 35 % of McCain voters got 10 or more of 13 questions correct.
- 18% of Obama voters got 10 or more of 13 questions correct.
- McCain voters knew which party controls congress by a 63-27 margin.
- Obama voters got the “congressional control” question wrong by 43-41.
- Those that got “congressional control” correct voted 56-43 for McCain.
- Those that got “congressional control” wrong voted 65-35 for Obama.
John’s main thrust with these polls has been to show the effects of media bias on the election, and their effectiveness in informing voters. For that purpose, the new Wilson Strategies survey got structured to ask each respondent which media sources he or she used for information. The results here are fascinating. On what should have been the easiest and most non-partisan question of the poll — which party controls Congress — the media outlets showed a significant difference in how well-informed their consumers are:
- Those “exposed” to Fox News got “congressional control” correct 64-25 (+39)
- Those “exposed” to CNN got “congressional control” correct 48-38 (+10)
- Those “exposed” to Network news got “congressional control” correct 48-39 (+9)
- Those “exposed” to print media got “congressional control” correct 52-37 (+15)
- Those “exposed” to MSNBC got “congressional control” correct 55-35 (+20)
- Those “exposed” to talk radio got “congressional control” correct 61-29 (+32)
Talk radio listeners and Fox News viewers answered that correctly far more often than any of the others. MS-NBC viewers actually answered that better than CNN viewers, but network news consumers did the worst. CNN and network news viewers couldn’t even get a majority of their consumers educated enough to answer that fairly simple question.
I’d say that Ziegler gets his vindication. Be sure to read all of the data, including the crosstabs from Wilson Strategies.
Update: Once again, just to clarify, John’s point isn’t that Obama voters are stupid. It’s that they were ignorant of the campaign issues raised in the election, and that directly relates to the media that supposedly informs them. When over half of CNN’s viewers can’t identify which party controls Congress just after a national election, that speaks volumes about how well CNN informs the public on public affairs.