Poll Spin

Ken AshfordRight Wing Punditry/Idiocy, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Instapundit cites a new Harris poll for the proposition that the military is the most "trusted" institution in America.

I didn’t know what Instapundit meant by that (the military is trusted how?), so I followed his link.  It took me to this United States Department of Defense website, where I read the first line of the press release:

The military continues to be the most admired institution in America, according to the latest Harris Poll.

Emphasis mine.

Instapundit should know better.  "Trusted" is not the same as "admired".   I trust that bin Laden is serious about his calls for attacks against the United States, but I sure as hell don’t admire him for that.

The rest of the DoD press release (Instapundit’s source) adds to the confusion.  After claiming that the military is the "most admired" institution, it states:

A total of 47 percent of Americans said they have a "great deal" of confidence in the military.

Again, "having confidence" in someone is different from "admiring" them, and even (albeit slightly) different from "trusting" them.

So what does the poll actually ask?  Did 47 percent of Americans say they "admired" the military, or had a "great deal of confidence" in the military, or "trusted" the military, or none of the above?

Well, it took a while, but I finally found the actual poll question here:

"As far as people in charge of running [the military] are concerned, would you say you have a great deal of confidence, only some confidence, or hardly any confidence at all in them?"

So there we have it.  Less than half of the respondents had a great deal of confidence in the people in charge of the military.  Which is not only not great news, but it’s entirely different from implying that the military as a whole is "admired" and "trusted".

It also bears noting that the 47% figure pales compared to what the response was to years ago, when it was at 62%.  And in January 2002, it was at 71%.  No other insitution in the poll, not even the White House, has seen such a precipitous drop.

RELATED:  Speaking of ridiculous spinning pundits, how stupid is the Corner’s K-Lo?

She saw an episode of "The Office" last night — a particularly funny one in which the buffoon of a boss (played by Steve Carrell) makes offensive sterotypical remarks during the company’s "Diversity Day" seminar. 

Specifically, K-Lo wonders if CAIR will be offended and issue a press release, because Arabs were NOT made fun of in the show.  She also wonders how far behind a "forced apology" from NBC will be.

Some things need to be pointed out to K-Lo:

(1)  Arabs were made fun of, as well as just about every ethnicity, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation.

(2)  That said, the humor didn’t come from making fun of minorities, but it came from Carrell’s bumbling character reinforcing racial stereotypes while trying to teach his workers about racial sensitivity.

(3)  And, oh yeah, K-lo.  Last night’s show was a repeat from last season.  So if CAIR has been silent about this for over a year, I think we can conclude that your counter-outrage against an imaginary protest is just a waste of Internet space (and that’s saying something since you post at The Corner).