From Jon Chait
Yesterday's New York Times poll showed that the public, by a 60-33% margin, opposes taking away collective bargaining rights from public employees. Conservatives pronounced the poll hopelessly biased. Fred Barnes -- last seen here calling for poll results designed to produce support for the Republican agenda -- declared, under the headline "Skewed Public Sector Union Poll Ignores Reality":
A New York Times/CBS News poll never lets you down. Today’s survey features a skewed sample (36 percent Democratic, 26 percent Republican), tricky questions, and an emphasis on results likely to thrill liberals and Democrats.Commentary ("A Shoddy New York Times Poll"), Ira Stoll ("A Slanted New York Times Poll"), the Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, the Heritage Foundation, two different NewsBusters posts all chimed in making the same point.
And now, the Wall Street Journal has a new poll out asking this question. Finally, a chance to correct the record -- Right, freedom-loving champions of accurate public opinion data?
Eliminating collective bargaining rights for public-sector workers over health care, pensions or other benefits would be either “mostly unacceptable” or “totally unacceptable,” 62% of those surveyed said. Only 33% support such limits.It looks like the conspiracy to slant the news runs deep.
My favorite post of all of the criticisms comes from Commentary's John Steele Gordon, who sneers at the Times poll:
How do you square these figures with the results of last November’s elections, in which anti-tax, anti-deficit, anti-public-union forces swept to historic victories in federal and state elections across the country? Well, you can’t, of course. The Times doesn’t even ask this blindingly obvious question, let alone try to answer it.
Let's look closer at what Gordon has to say
: (emp add)
Although less than 12 percent of the workforce is unionized today, 20 percent of the households in the survey had a union member. Although government workers are 17 percent of the workforce, 25 percent of the households surveyed had one living there. In other words, the sample was wildly skewed toward the very people most likely to give the answers the Times was hoping to hear.
This John Steele Gordon person at Commentary is either a knave or a fool. Hard to say which. In any event, it's obvious that households, containing one or more workers
, would have a higher percentage of having at least one
unionized or government worker. Gordon's stupid analysis allows him to decry the Times survey as "skewed".
Half the population is male. In a (hypothetical) survey, 75% of the households had a male. Ergo, the survey is skewed. That's John Steele Gordon thinking
November's sweeping election featured the Republicans getting around 22% of the vote.