Day By Day

Friday, October 14, 2005

Bush and Blacks -- the Polls

Tim Russert -- Ignorant or Dishonest? You decide.

Tim Russert "enthusiastically" reported on NBC Nightly News that Bush's poll ratings among African-Americans had dipped to 2%, based on the just released WSJ/NBC poll. Technically speaking, he's right, that's the number the poll published; but the size of the poll sample calls the number into question. It should not have been reported unless confirmed by other data.

Mystery Pollster is all over Russert's case and notes that the actual level of support is probably around 12-14% -- in other words, unchanged from historical levels. He writes:
[A] note to powerful pundits who present polling data on national television: A sample of less than 100 interviews can be a dangerous thing. Handle with caution, not exuberance.
Read his analysis here.

In these days when TV news is more and more driven by poll results, Blumenthal [the Mystery Pollster -- actually there's not much mystery any more] is an invaluable resource. When you hear the MSM trumpeting some poll result or other, check with him to see what it really means.

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