NYT/CBS poll has its thumbs on the scale … again

posted at 12:21 pm on April 7, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The only consistent quality about the New York Times/CBS polling is its ridiculous sampling on party identification.  Once again, the NYT/CBS poll tries to paint Democrats as unassailably popular and Republicans as losing ground, and once again they have to wildly oversample Democrats to make the argument.  Their latest poll has a sixteen-point gap between the parties:

Americans have grown more optimistic about the economy and the direction of the country in the 11 weeks since President Obama was inaugurated, suggesting that he is enjoying some success in his critical task of rebuilding the nation’s confidence, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

These sometimes turbulent weeks — marked by new initiatives by Mr. Obama, attacks by Republicans and more than a few missteps by the White House — do not appear to have hurt the president. Americans said they approved of Mr. Obama’s handling of the economy, foreign policy, Iraq and Afghanistan; fully two-thirds said they approved of his overall job performance.

By contrast, just 31 percent of respondents said they had a favorable view of the Republican Party, the lowest in the 25 years the question has been asked in New York Times/CBS News polls.

It is not unusual for new presidents to enjoy a period of public support. Still, the durability of Mr. Obama’s support contrasts with that of some of his predecessors at the same point in their terms. It is also striking at a time when anxiety has gripped households across the country and Mr. Obama has alternately sought to rally Americans’ spirits and warn against economic collapse as he seeks Congressional support for his programs.

It’s not unusual for the Gray Lady to cook the numbers, either, to make sure their poll shows that support.  This is the breakout in their demographics on page 23:

  • Democrats – 39%
  • Republicans – 23%
  • Independents – 30%

In February, just a month earlier, they had Democrats at 36% and Republicans at 26% — still too low for the GOP, but only a ten-point gap.  Now they want to argue that Democrats have pushed the partisan gap to 16 points in a single month?  Not hardly, says Rasmussen:

In March, the number of Democrats in the nation fell two percentage points while the number of Republicans fell by half-a-point. Democrats continue to have a sizable advantage in terms of partisan identification, but the advantage is smaller than it’s been since December 2007.

Currently, 38.7% of Americans say they are Democrats. That’s down from 40.8% a month ago. It’s also the first time the Democratic total has slipped below the 40% mark since the Republican convention bounce last September. … In March, 33.2% of American adults say they are Republicans. That’s down from 33.6% a month ago. Over the past year, the number of Republicans has ranged from a low of 31.4% in April to a high of 34.4% in September.

In other words, the percentage has never been as low as 23%.  Republicans lost the national election, but if they had dropped to 23% nationwide, Democrats would likely control over 300 seats in Congress and 70 seats in the Senate.  Any poll using a 16-point gap between the parties is worthless.

Unfortunately, they’re not the only news agencies using ridiculous sampling to bolster their contentions of wild popularity for Barack Obama.  Newsweek used a 19-point gap in its latest polling.  CNN thus far has neglected to publish the internals of its poll.  It’s just another round of dishonesty from the media.

Rasmussen has Obama’s polling at a more rational 58%, but then again, they don’t have an investment in Obama, Inc, as the media does.

Update: Jim Geraghty reminds us that in a highly successful electoral cycle, Democrats had an affiliation edge of …. seven percent.


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sethstorm, you’re just going to have to accept the fact that your ideology is not mainstream. You can rail on pollsters all you like, but it’s not going to change that fact.

ddrintn on April 7, 2009 at 4:40 PM

no surprise on this, its what they do. In the real world Dems have an advantage but this much, no.

rob verdi on April 7, 2009 at 4:42 PM

Soon Obama will have 99% Approval of all “right” thinking Americans. The media will only poll those who approve, and you will approve when a minder is present taking the poll with the pollster, WON’T YOU citizen!!

James on April 7, 2009 at 5:00 PM

This is the breakout in their demographics on page 23:
Democrats – 39%
Republicans – 23%
Independents – 30%
I question even these numbers…………..

Seven Percent Solution on April 7, 2009 at 3:31 PM

Blogger Clay Waters has more on the polling sample at the link below-he noticed that the “poll methodology” descriptions the NYT and C-BS were not the same-the C-BS methodology cite further broke the numbers down.

Clay also noted that the poll asked a question they hadn’t used in one of their polls for 7 years.

http://www.timeswatch.org/articles/2009/20090407151428.aspx

excerpt

Digging into the actual questions from the poll, one notices the Times and CBS resurrected a left-wing question it hasn’t asked in a poll since July 2002:

36. Do you think big business has too much influence, too little influence, or the right amount of influence on the Republican party?

37. Do you think big business has too much influence, too little influence, or the right amount of influence on the Democratic party?

More black-and-white left-wingery:

42. Do you think Barack Obama cares more about protecting the interests of ordinary working people or cares more about protecting the interests of large corporations?

What about capitalists who think that large corporations are more often than not beneficial to the interests of working people (for one thing, they provide jobs)? The poll doesn’t offer that as a choice — you’re either for the people or for “the man.”

Del Dolemonte on April 7, 2009 at 5:05 PM

Ummm… Lets put statistics into proper perpective.

A historian, an engineer and a statistician are duck hunting. A duck rises from the lake. The historian fires first, and shoots 10′ over the duck. Then the engineer shoulders the shotgun and shoots 10′ under the duck. The statistician exclaimed “got him!”

And

Statistics are like whores, play with them long enough and they’ll do anything for you.

bigskinny on April 7, 2009 at 5:24 PM

Not surprising. One of the things Rush is most correct about is that MSM polls are only done to serve the MSM storyline.

That storyline right now is supposed to be an ever more popular Obama bestriding the worldstage as god-king. It’s not supposed to be Obama’s poll numbers continue to slip as he makes a fool of himself and country oversees while failing to advance anyone’s interests except our adversaries’. The MSM can hide the latter part (well the US side is at least), but the former part has to be manufactured these days.

jarodea on April 7, 2009 at 5:32 PM

Ummm… Id also suggest that yall take a look at this video to get an idea from a pollster on how polls are done.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If9EWDB_zK4

P.S. language alert on this one.

My favorite line is:

“Even if 100% of the people polled like F****n hobbit movies, they still suck.”

bigskinny on April 7, 2009 at 5:33 PM

Tom_Shipley are you a product of the California education system? I think in my first post I showed the numbers that even a 5th grader could understand without having to have it explained to them, yet it took you 5 post before you seen to get the weighed verse unweighed numbers.

Now the issue really boils down to the NYT hiding about how they “weighed” the numbers and at least CBS published this information in their poll numbers and you asked the question of the day that was not answered by the NYT or CBS.

How did they “reweight” the numbers?

Tom_Shipley on April 7, 2009 at 1:40 PM

While we don’t know the “HOW” they did it, we do know what the outcome of it was after they did it because the numbers went from a 8% difference in ACTUAL party identification between Dem and Rep to a 16% difference.

So question then comes down to can you trust any other numbers in the poll without know what crazy thing they did to get their “weighed” numbers? The only way to have this poll be valid would be for them to report what actual the unweighed and weighed number are for every question or explain exactly how they “weighed” them.

JeffinSac on April 7, 2009 at 5:42 PM

16 point gap in party ID?? Boy, those dummies over at the NYT must have some powerful stuff to smoke. When will they realize that “wishing something to be true” and the reality of “what is actually true” are two different things.

Then again, who am I kidding…. Liberals aren’t taught to observe and understand the finer shades of differences in things, like the truth, now are they??

mngander92 on April 7, 2009 at 6:04 PM

sethstorm:

That is so pathetic. Give me one example of Fox trying to control the media. The truth is you just can not handle the fact that Fox gets ratings because real live Americans watch it. And yet you seem to think they should not be doing that. What gives you the right?

Terrye on April 7, 2009 at 6:14 PM

This is the way it works, the NYT is trying to earn that bailout they need.

Terrye on April 7, 2009 at 6:15 PM

bigskinny on April 7, 2009 at 5:24 PM

LOL… my favorite is from back in college in the late 70′s…

Statistics: A Column of figures looking for an arguement.

Romeo13 on April 7, 2009 at 6:16 PM

Once again, the NYT/CBS poll tries to paint Democrats as unassailably popular and Republicans as losing ground, and once again they have to wildly oversample Democrats to make the argument.

Nuff Said.

5u93rm4n on April 7, 2009 at 6:31 PM

The fact that the unweighted Democrat number is 349 and the weighted number actually INCREASES to 391, while the Republican number DROPS from 264 to 230 tells you ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS POLL.

They started out with 84 more Dem’s than Repubs in the unweighted sample.

Apparently that wasn’t a big enough gap for the pollsters, so during the weighted sample the added 42 more Dems and dropped 34 Republicans, for a new gap of 161.

THIS is supposed to be a representative sample of the population?

Bullshit.

manofaiki on April 7, 2009 at 7:18 PM

msmveritas on April 7, 2009 at 4:38 PM

I’ve seen a lot of silence when it comes to Rassmussen polls. Haven’t heard them being questioned by Fox – they might as well be Opinion Dynamics in new clothing for all I care.

sethstorm on April 7, 2009 at 7:30 PM

Terrye on April 7, 2009 at 6:14 PM

Letting O’Reilly send folks to stalk bloggers on vacation and ask viewers to spam newspapers is enough in that column. Control – for all I’d notice, Fox acts as if they already have it. I won’t be surprised if Mr Beck follows in his footsteps.

Never mind that CBS, NBC, ABC and CNN have done neither, even if they wanted to.

sethstorm on April 7, 2009 at 7:40 PM

sethstorm on April 7, 2009 at 7:30 PM

I think Rasmussen is pretty solid in their research design. I am sure that upsets you but that is my objective opinion. All research has limitations because it is a snapshot of a moment. Rasmussen does a daily poll that shows a trend which is the most valid tracking to watch. Opinion Dynamics is frequently less favorable to Republicans Look at this Congressional approval from RCP for example. Fox’s numbers seem a bit out of line but favor the Democratic Congress or at least show lower overall disapproval.

msmveritas on April 7, 2009 at 7:54 PM

The fact that the unweighted Democrat number is 349 and the weighted number actually INCREASES to 391, while the Republican number DROPS from 264 to 230 tells you ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS POLL.

They started out with 84 more Dem’s than Repubs in the unweighted sample.

Apparently that wasn’t a big enough gap for the pollsters, so during the weighted sample the added 42 more Dems and dropped 34 Republicans, for a new gap of 161.

THIS is supposed to be a representative sample of the population?

Bullshit.

OK maybe I didn’t say that strongly enough:

BULLSHIT.

manofaiki on April 7, 2009 at 8:54 PM

This is the way it works, the NYT is trying to earn that bailout they need.

Terrye on April 7, 2009 at 6:15 PM

As if they could be more partisan than they are with Pinch Salzberger, Harbinger Capital and Carlos Slim, to name a few.

chunderroad on April 7, 2009 at 9:02 PM

Letting O’Reilly send folks to stalk bloggers on vacation and ask viewers to spam newspapers is enough in that column. Control – for all I’d notice, Fox acts as if they already have it. I won’t be surprised if Mr Beck follows in his footsteps.

Never mind that CBS, NBC, ABC and CNN have done neither, even if they wanted to.

sethstorm on April 7, 2009 at 7:40 PM

None of which makes Rasmussen unreliable.

ddrintn on April 8, 2009 at 12:38 AM

When you see an MSM poll, realize that someone PAID for those numbers, and think “This is the result they want”.
That’s what polls tell you.

PaddyJ on April 8, 2009 at 2:23 AM

Sometimes I can’t help myself and just lose control.
I have an overwhelming urge to employ a Leftist tactic.

Never mind that CBS, NBC, ABC and CNN have done neither, even if they wanted to.

sethstorm on April 7, 2009 at 7:40 PM

Prove that they haven’t

oldernwiser on April 8, 2009 at 9:15 AM

Seth,

You are an EPIC FAIL as trolls go.

You’ve got to pick your battles better. There is no way anybody on this planet can defend the reliability of ANY poll by CBS/NYT sincerely.

Can’t be done, evah.

Sapwolf on April 8, 2009 at 9:43 AM

ddrintn on April 8, 2009 at 12:38 AM

…at returning what Fox wants them to hear.

sethstorm on April 8, 2009 at 10:02 AM

Not too long from now the demoncrapic president’s approval numbers will rival the official numbers for Castro and Amadinejad while the republicans along with homos will be less than 1%.

cjk on April 8, 2009 at 10:55 AM

You have to forgive the NY Times here. They are having financial difficulties and have decided to use only local calling in their polls. It is just hard to find many Republicans in New York City these days.

Hawthorne on April 8, 2009 at 2:16 PM

ddrintn on April 8, 2009 at 12:38 AM

…at returning what Fox wants them to hear.

sethstorm on April 8, 2009 at 10:02 AM

Just because it might be what “Fix wants to hear” and that it doesn’t sound good to you doesn’t mean it’s not true. Rasmussen predicted the past election quite accurately.

ddrintn on April 8, 2009 at 5:33 PM

*Fox, Fix, whatever.

Fox is biased, but CNN and CBS are not. LOL

ddrintn on April 8, 2009 at 5:34 PM

As my grandpa always said… “Numbers don’t lie… People do!”

vulcannomad on April 9, 2009 at 11:04 AM

Uh-oh, C-BS is out with another new “poll”, and it has Dear Leader at 66%.

http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/poll_Obama_040609.pdf

And gee, what a surprise. C-BS has their thumbs on the scale again. Read the last page of the pdf.

Del Dolemonte on April 9, 2009 at 1:38 PM

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