CNN’s Poll Vaulting

A short report on CNN’s Political Ticker is interesting for what it doesn’t mention in the story as well as its admittedly misleading trumpeted headline that Obama got “double-digit post-speech jump” after his Sept, 9 healthcare speech to a joint session of Congress.

First the headline: “CNN Poll: Double-digit post-speech jump for Obama plan.”

Reading that headline would lead someone to believe, well, that there was a double-digit jump in Obama’s numbers. After all, that’s what is says. But at the tale of the story the CNN piece the last paragraph admits that these numbers are heavily skewed to Democrats.

The audience for the speech appears to be more Democratic than the U.S. population as a whole. Because of this, the results may favor Obama simply because more Democrats than Republicans tune into the speech. The poll surveyed the opinions of people who watched Wednesday night’s speech, and does not reflect the views of all Americans.

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Alright. That disclaimer is all well and good, but why the headline that would make reader imagine that it was a straight poll of people responding to the speech instead of a poll of mostly Democrats responding to the speech?

Then we have the part of the report that is germane to the subject but was not reported under this happy headline. Obama’s ratings for the 9th’s joint session speech were much lower than his ratings for his February 24 joint session State of the Union speech.

Last February Nielsen recorded 52,373,000 viewers for Obama’s joint session speech. But his healthcare speech only garnered 32,111,596 viewers.

So, not only does CNN mislead with its headline causing the unwary reader to assume that Obama got a boost among all Americans, but the report doesn’t even reveal that Obama lost millions of viewers over his last joint session speech.

(Originally posted at National Review Institute.)

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