Commentary Magazine


CNN’s Poll vs. CNN’s Spin (Part Two)

An astute commenter to a previous post notes something about CNN’s “poll” of VP debate viewers that on the one hand is utterly predictable, given CNN’s track record, yet is still appalling: CNN declares that its poll finds Biden the winner, but CNN never discloses any information about who participated in the poll. This would be like asking people whether they liked the Red Sox or the Yankees and not revealing what percentage of phone calls were made to Boston versus New York. Without that information, the results are more than worthless — they are manipulative.

CNN’s headline declares that “Debate Poll Says Biden Won.” CNN’s “news analysis” also is headlined (in part) “Biden Wins Debate.” Nowhere in either story does CNN reveal anything about its polling sample other than its total size (611 people). CNN’s poll of the presidential debate last week employed a respondent group in which Democrats were dramatically overrepresented, which predictably led to the result of Obama “winning” the debate.

You can read CNN’s poll stories here and here. The omissions in both should be glaring to anyone with even the slightest familiarity with how poll results are supposed to be reported. CNN deserves to be trusted on these matters about as much as Dan Rather deserves to be trusted with National Guard documents.