After reading the CNN/ORC poll, the reader will find him/herself less informed about public opinion than before the poll. It was not labeled a scientific poll and there is a reason for that, but it’s a nuance that most won’t notice. Many polls today are meant to influence opinion not inform. The devil is in the details.
How the questions were asked and who and how many they were asked of are key.
This poll compared President Obama with Republicans in Congress. Congress is always unpopular. Comparing Democrats in Congress to Republicans in Congress would have been an equal comparison.
The phone poll sampled 1009 people, better than half were on landlines. Of that sample, 28% described themselves as Democrats, 24% described themselves as Republicans, and 48% described themselves as Independents or members of another party.
Generally, more Democrats are polled because of their representation in the population.
Most of the questions were only asked of half the sample.
Some of the questions had a margin of error of 3 points (total sample), others were 4.5 points (half the sample), while still others were 8.5 and those subgroups were deemed N/A. A margin of error of 4.5 points would have reversed the results for most questions. It’s a large margin in too small a sample to be scientific.
They asked half the sample if they had more confidence in Obama or Republicans in Congress to deal with the major issues today. The results were 48% for Obama and 39% for Republicans. The margin of error was 4.5 points.
The poll didn’t come out that way because of the men, it was the women who found for Obama 54% to 33%. Interestingly, whites were against Obama 37% to 49%. Much of the poll had N/A because the margin of error was larger than 8.5%. It also appeared that the older a person was, the less the person liked Obama over the Republicans in Congress.
Urban areas polled 56% in favor of Obama.
They then compared a CNN/Time TREND with the poll. It showed that popularity of President Clinton over Republicans in Congress was even higher in Clinton’s favor at 53%. It seems her scandals haven’t hurt her with that crew. She could sign the U.S. over to China and she’d win accolades. It’s important to note that the CNN/ORC poll compared their unscientific poll with a TREND on left-wing publications and made it seem as if it was something other than what it was.
When asked if the respondents preferred Obama in foreign policy, the poll indicated that a stunning 47% to 39% preferred Obama. The margin of error again was a whopping 4.5 points because only half the sample was polled. And Again, it was the women and those who live in urban communities who preferred Mr. Obama. The Democrats were at 88%. There is no changing their mind. He could put the hammer and sickle up over the White House and they’d applaud him.
Terrifyingly, 68% prefer direct talks with Iran and that was based on the total sample. Across the board, everyone preferred it.
Most believed the letter to Iran had no effect but went too far. Those questions were asked of the total sample with 44% saying it had no effect and 18% saying it helped.
I wonder how many understand no letter was sent to Iran and that it was merely posted on Sen. Tom Cotton’s website. The media has said the letter was “sent”.
Aside from the other mischaracterizations, notice the Daily News in N.Y. said it was “sent” as a “warning” and a “threat” to negotiations. The Iranians want this agreement. We’re giving away the store. Nothing will threaten it.
Polls and the media are not meant to inform. They are meant to sway opinion. Both CNN and ORC are unabashedly left-wing and their poll is little better than a straw poll though as a trend it might be taken more seriously or not.