Green Room

CNN Distorts 60 Min./Vanity Fair Poll About Sarah Palin

posted at 1:29 pm on August 30, 2010 by

The headline of the day at CNN is TRENDING: Clear majority says Palin not qualified to be president (emphasis mine):

Two days after Sarah Palin fired up a large crowd at Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally in Washington, a newly released survey suggests a clear majority of Americans don’t think the former vice presidential nominee has the right credentials to be president.

According to the new survey from Vanity Fair and CBS News’ 60 Minutes, only 1 in 4 of all adults thinks Palin is qualified to be commander-in-chief while 60 percent say she is not.

This description of the poll is an outright fabrication.  The actual poll question had nothing to do with credentials, qualifications, or even electability.  Here was the actual question: “Do you think SARAH PALIN would have the ability to be an EFFECTIVE PRESIDENT?”:

 

Similarly distorted versions are all over the internet, in which the authors misread the actual question asked, and use it to opine on Palin’s qualifications or election prospects.

Time Magazine’s Swampland blog, which partners with CNN, asks the headline question Could Palin Be President? (emphasis mine):

A new poll suggests not. Only one in four Americans consider her qualified to be commander in chief, with 60 percent sure that she is not qualified. Those are awful numbers and I’m one who thinks the prospects of a Palin presidency are, for the moment, quite unlikely.

Again, there is no truth to the characterization that the poll concerned qualifications or election prospects.

(added) Whether someone would be an “effective” president could turn on a number of factors, including the strength of opposition. On that account, given pervasive Palin Derangement Syndrome in the media, as witnessed by the CNN article linked above, Palin may have trouble being an “effective” president.

These Vanity Fair polls are a joke; there are few choices given to the interviewees, there is no depth of questioning, and they mix pop culture questions (such as Which word is overused the most?) in with political questions.

That said, at least accurately report the question and the context.

Which is what HuffPo did, by also noting other polls on Palin’s prospects:

While the 2012 election is a long way off and poll numbers are difficult to interpret, in one recent poll of potential 2012 matchups, conducted Aug. 6-9 by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, 43% of registered voters said they would support Palin to 49% for Obama.

HuffPo more fair than CNN and Time Magazine.  It has come to this.

Cross-Posted with updates at Legal Insurrection Blog

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Tiny little minds talking to tiny little audiences.

tarpon on August 30, 2010 at 1:50 PM

Nice of them to present their conclusions to us so we who are really too stupid to evaluate a candidate ourselves will know which one to vote for. I’m getting tired of the media and pundits picking our leaders for us. We’ll do a better job by ourselves next time.

Kissmygrits on August 30, 2010 at 1:54 PM

Is it really that much of a stretch to go from “ability to be effective” to “qualified”, though? Not synonymous, but pretty damned close. Not that I would give CNN the benefit of the doubt in most cases, but this seems a bit too much ado about nothing.

MadisonConservative on August 30, 2010 at 2:03 PM

MadisonConservative on August 30, 2010 at 2:03 PM

No, I think there is a huge difference. I think Palin is plenty qualified to be President. Do I think she’d be that effective… meh, maybe not (at this time).

Abby Adams on August 30, 2010 at 2:08 PM

This is just a case of the “journo-list” left lashing out at Palin because their guy’s approval numbers are tanking.

UltimateBob on August 30, 2010 at 2:14 PM

m “ability to be effective” to “qualified”, though? Not synonymous, but pretty damned close

No where near close. As others have mentione,d “ability to be effective” is heavily influenced by which party controls ccongress among other things. “Qualified” means only that someone has requisite qualifications. One can clearly be qualified but ineffective.

Vera on August 30, 2010 at 2:41 PM

No, I think there is a huge difference. I think Palin is plenty qualified to be President. Do I think she’d be that effective… meh, maybe not (at this time).

Abby Adams on August 30, 2010 at 2:08 PM

If someone is going to be president but do nothing, how are they qualified? Or are we talking the literal qualifications, like age?

MadisonConservative on August 30, 2010 at 2:44 PM

No where near close. As others have mentione,d “ability to be effective” is heavily influenced by which party controls ccongress among other things. “Qualified” means only that someone has requisite qualifications. One can clearly be qualified but ineffective.

Vera on August 30, 2010 at 2:41 PM

Reagan had a Democrat-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate at the end. Wasn’t he effective?

MadisonConservative on August 30, 2010 at 2:46 PM

MadisonConservative on August 30, 2010 at 2:44 PM

Well, some of it is the literal qualifications: age, etc. But also, I guess it depends on what the definition of “effective” would be. I think Palin would be a great C-i-C. She may even get a few large pieces of legislation championed through congress. But if your definition of effective includes persuading large majorities of the American people, I’m not so sure she’d be able. I sort of view it as George W. Bush… he was certainly qualified to be president, no? But would you consider him an “effective president?” I miiiight, but I’m not sure on the whole.

Conversely, I suppose some people could argue that Barack Obama wasn’t qualified to be president (no exec. experience, no business background, etc.), but that he’s been effective (Porkulus, healthcare reform, etc.).

So I guess it just depends on your definitions of “qualified” and “effective”.

Abby Adams on August 30, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Wasn’t he effective?

Yes, but that doesn’t change the fact that even a very qualified president can be ineffective. This is especially true given Palin’s history with Alaska. Although I doubt many with an ounce of intellectual honesty would question Palin’s qualifications for that job, once the democratic hacks began with their torrent of ethics complaints, she was no longer able to be an effective governor. That isn’t necessarily an indictment of her character, and is a very different assessment than simply saying she was never qualified for the job to begin with.

Vera on August 30, 2010 at 3:24 PM

Vera on August 30, 2010 at 3:24 PM

Yes. George H.W. Bush was one of our most qualified presidents. But was he really effective? Not really.

Abby Adams on August 30, 2010 at 4:03 PM

Does anyone really expect a left-wing blog like CNN to be honest?

malclave on August 30, 2010 at 6:14 PM

You know, I hate to sound like I’m lawyering about this, but anyone who is 35 years of age and a natural-born citizen of the United States is technically “qualified” to be president. Any other quality which is deemed by the media to be a “qualification” simply means getting John & Jane Q. Public to trust you enough with their vote.

gryphon202 on August 30, 2010 at 8:24 PM