A textbook example of spinning numbers
I covered earlier the negative spin Gallup put on its recent Tea Party polling. What showed a stable support/opposition over the last two years — including a drop in opposition — was spun as a negative only by comparison to three years ago.
Gallup could have titled its report “No real change in Tea Party Support” or “Tea Party Support/Opposition Stable.” Instead, Gallup put this spin on it:
That misleading spin has been picked up and run with across the media, which is trying to tie the supposed decline to Ted Cruz’s rise since 2012.
But there was no meaningful decline since 2012 — just 2% within the poll’s 3% margin of error. Support is actually 1% higher than in 2011. You have to go back three years to the 2010 mid-term pro-Republican wave election, when Tea Party support peaked briefly, to see a substantial decline. But that substantial decline took place prior to the 2012 election, long before Cruz was in the Senate.
Even with that, over 1 in 5 Americans still support the Tea Party and half of Americans are neutral. Considering the demonization of the Tea Party in the media and Washington, D.C., a stable support/opposition is pretty amazing.
No one is interested in the details, it’s just political gamesmanship.
Here are 5 profoundly misleading headlines inspired by Gallup:
1. The Week — Why does everyone hate the Tea Party?
Really? 73% of people supporting or being neutral on the Tea Party means everyone hates the Tea Party?
2. Taylor Marsh – No One Supports the Tea Party Anymore:
Well, if by “no one” you mean over 1 in 5 Americans, slightly more than self-identify as liberal:
3. Salon.com – The Tea Party is really, really unpopular.
Yup, because 27% of the population opposes the Tea Party and 73% don’t, that makes the Tea Party really, really unpopular.
Well yes, if by “plunging” you mean being 1% higher than two years ago, and within the margin of error lower than last year.
5. CBS News – Poll: Tea party approaches record low popularity
A year ago according to the Gallup chart, the Tea Party support/oppose margin was 5% negative. Today it is 5% negative. There is no change in popularity.DONATE
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