Monday, June 22, 2009

Source Materials

In the Morning Joe segment I posted about earlier today, Joe Scarborough tried to discredit the findings of a New York Times poll that found overwhelming support for a public plan. Of course as usual Scarborough tried to ask as if he had some kind of state secret that nobody else knew about so he couldn't reveal his reasoning trashing the poll. Well I think this post from ThinkProgress about a simlar line of wankery from Senator John Cornyn has solved the puzzle.

The conservative blog Powerline immediately took issue with the poll, arguing (wrongly) that the sample was skewed because 48 percent of respondents reported voting for President Obama last fall, while just 25 percent of respondents reported voting for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Powerline compared the NYT/CBS figures to the actual election results in which Obama won 53 percent of the vote and McCain won 46 percent.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), apparently convinced by Powerline’s
argument, cited the blog in two cable news appearances this afternoon to deny that there was any significant public support for the creation of a public health insurance option. “With all due respect to the New York Times and CBS, this polling sample was skewed,” he told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. Similarly, on Fox News Cornyn said, “I think there’s been some particularly good blog coverage like Powerline blog talking how that sample was so skewed as to be meaningless.”


Unfortunately for Cornyn, Powerline is wrong to conclude the sample is skewed based on the data they cited. As Slate’s Christopher Beam explained last week, the disparity between last fall’s actual vote tallies and the results reported by NYT/CBS yesterday comes down to respondents being too embarrassed to admit that they didn’t vote:

The main explanation for the gap, say pollsters, is people who didn’t vote at all saying they did. These people tend to say they picked the winning candidate. Just look at the Times and Journal polls, where about 80 percent of respondents said they voted in the 2008 election. In fact, turnout was about 61 percent. (A 20 percent gap is pretty standard.) Pollsters attribute the disparity to the social discomfort of having to admit, even to a stranger on the phone, that you didn’t vote.


To buttress their claim that the NYT/CBS poll was inaccurate, Powerline linked to a recent Rasmussen poll that found comparatively little support for the creation of a public health insurance option, with just 41 percent of Americans supporting such a move. But as Nate Silver documented last week, it is the Rasmussen poll — not the NYT/CBS poll — that falls outside typical levels of support for a public health insurance found in other recent surveys

Evidently Scarborough and Cornyn have been drinking from the same cup of kool aid and that just adds to the point I made earlier about Scar trying to hide his real agenda. He tries to make it seem as if he isn't a mouth piece for Republicans, but he is definitely repeating their talking points. And thats what I hate the most about him. Hell if you are going to be a wingnut don't be half assed about it or try to hide it, go all the way. Don't try to sell the people a fraudulent image of yourself.

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