Why Sometimes We Should Throw Podhoretz Away

Ken AshfordRight Wing Punditry/IdiocyLeave a Comment

Man, are these guys stupid.

Here’s John Podhoretz, at the NRO’s Corner:


New Gallup poll, not kidding, says on the one hand that 52 percent of those polled believe things are going well in the country, and on the other hand that 59 percent say the country is going in the wrong direction. Umm…that’s simply absurd. The poll is a Rube Goldberg machine. Does it ever occur to Gallup that maybe when it gets results like this that clearly indicate those polled have no consistent idea about what they think from one second to the other, the poll might be trash and should be thrown in the garbage can and tried again?

Emphasis mine.

Wow, I thought, reading that.  Is that what the Gallop poll really says?

So I clicked the link to the story.  Here’s what the CNN report about the poll actually says:

Nevertheless, most of the respondents — 52 percent — said things are going very or fairly well in the country, a statistically similar response (49 percent) to the last time the question was asked in November.


But many respondents said something made them upset about the direction the country was headed. Fifty-nine percent said they were angry about the way the country was moving along, while 32 percent answered they were generally content.

So Podhoretz (again) gets it wrong.  59% said that they were angry about the way the country was moving along, while 52% said things are going along very or fairly well in the country.

A contradiction?  Hardly.  It is possible, for example, that 7% of those surveyed think the country is moving along "fairly well", but they are angry because it could be doing better.  Or they are angry because they think that the "fairly well" situation will turn around in a year or two’s time.  Or something.  The point is that people are responding to different questions.

But don’t expect Podhoretz to understand that.  His head will explode.