Warner Todd Huston
Democrats on Rasmussen polls: the numbers ain't right and the question is flawed
By Warner Todd Huston
January 4, 2010

The Politico published a Jan. 2 we-shoot-the-messenger styled story about lefty bloggers and Democrat activists who are upset that the Rasmussen polling group has so often found numbers trending in support of the GOP position. Not only has Rasmussen found that Obama's approval rating is going down steadily, but it has been finding that Republicans and Republican backed ideas are in ascendance. The left, though, is crying foul.

But the interesting thing about the story is that the complaints of the leftists don't seem to hold water at least if we take Alex Isendtadt's Politico piece as a case in point. Oh, there's lots of complaints, lots of claims that Rasmussen is some Republican operative (even though the firm has never worked for a partisan purpose or a specific candidate), and doubts galore, but there just doesn't seem to be any there there.

Apparently one of the left's complaints is "the way the firm frames questions." Politico gives this example:

    In August, for example, Rasmussen asked respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement "It's always better to cut taxes than to increase government spending because taxpayers, not bureaucrats, are the best judges of how to spend their money."

    "Why stop there, Rasmussen? Why not add a parenthetical phrase about how tax cuts regrow hair, whiten teeth, and ensure that your favorite team will win the Super Bowl this year?" responded Daily Kos blogger Steve Singiser, who frequently writes about polls.

I love the demagogy of the Daily Kos leftist. Obviously American principles and tradition are anathema to him. If the question weren't true as far as the traditional American political ideal is concerned, why would that particular question be a problem? After all, if this question didn't reflect a general American principle, people would not answer it in a way that would upset leftists. Yet the left hated the idea that people are "the best judges of how to spend their money"! It is plain here that the left is out of step with the general American political ideal and that they feel that government should spend our money and we the people shouldn't. It is plain that leftists do not hold American principles.

The left's next avenue of attack was to say that Rasmussen is wrong to use likely voters for his polls instead of the general population. They say that this method skews the voting to Republicans. They are also laughably spinning their brains out here.

Even if we take their claims at face value it would prove on thing that isn't true and one thing that holds bad omens for their left-wing policy prescriptions. If we accepted that it was flawed to use likely voters because it skews right, then that would assume that most voters vote Republican as a general rule. We know that is not true as there are plenty of Democrat voters, so the left's assumption that using likely voters somehow must skew right is flawed right there.

Still, if likely voters are trending Republican right now, then that means that Democrats are quickly losing steam and this seems to be very, very true right at this point in time. Whether it holds true all the way until the 2010 elections is another thing but that it is true now shows that the left has lost the confidence of the people.

No wonder they don't like it. The truth hurts.

As for myself, I don't pay too much attention to polls. I don't find them very useful for the most part. But if the left is so sure that Rasmussen is a GOP plant because the firm is finding against the left, I am prone to begin to pay more attention to the polls from Rasmussen, at least.

© Warner Todd Huston


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Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston's thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often historically based, is featured on many websites... (more)

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