Punditry At The Corner

Ken AshfordHealth Care, Right Wing Punditry/IdiocyLeave a Comment

Ramesh Ponnuru:

The other day I commented on the poor quality of polling on stem-cell research. I'm afraid that the Rasmussen poll, cited in today's web briefing, is no exception. Here's the question they use: "President Obama has decided to lift the ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Do you agree or disagree with President Obama’s decision?"

What is wrong with that question, Ramesh?  Slanted?  Hardly.  Perhaps your problem is that it is not slanted.  Perhaps you think the polling question ought to be: "Do you agree or disagree with killing babies in their extreme infancy?" [UPDATE:  Well, I was right.  The preferred question is: "An embryo is a developing human life, therefore it should not be destroyed for scientific or research purposes.  Agree or Disagree?"] [ANOTHER UPDATE:  Kevin Drum agrees with me].

Then, as if to outdo himself, Ramesh writes:

Rasmussen also reports that 40 percent of those surveyed say they have followed the debate "very closely." No estimate is given for the percentage of those respondents who are lying.

Seriously???  When has any pollster provided an estimate of how many respondents are lying?  And how would a pollster even have the basis for making such an estimate?  Maybe they should ask a follow-up to respondents: "Are you lying?"

This, of course, is yet another example of right-wing pundits and their inability to accept reality.  The majority of the nation supports Obama.  The majority of the nation supports stem cell research.  Poll after poll shows this.  Deal with it, Ramesh, and stop blaming the pollsters.  You and your party are not going to get out of the woods until you stop denying that you are in the woods.

UPDATE:  Now, this is an example of a poorly-worded poll question (click to enlarge):


Fortunately, CNN changed it an hour or so ago….