Andrew Malcolm spins Gallup poll results

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Yesterday, Gallup released poll results that show public concern about "big business" at the highest level it has ever been, aside from an uptick in 2002 in the wake of the Enron scandal. Meanwhile, public concern about the threat posed by "big government" is lower than it has been for almost all of the past 20 years.

Here's how former Laura Bush press secretary Andrew Malcolm portrayed Gallup's findings on his LA Times blog:

[A] substantial majority (55%) still see big government as the larger threat; 32% see big business as the biggest threat, up slightly from 25% three years ago.

A "substantial majority"? Perhaps -- but less substantial than at any point in the past 20 years, except the post-9/11 period. Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans who see big business as the bigger threat is "up slightly" only if you consider a 28 percent increase "slight." And, of course, Malcolm ignores the fact that numbers for big business are the second-worst they have ever been in the 40+ years Gallup has been asking this question.

Regular readers of Malcolm's work will probably not be surprised to learn that he used his business-friendly portrayal of the Gallup results to argue that the Republicans "message" may "resonate" in next year's congressional elections:

The results provide at least a possible blueprint for beleaguered Republicans struggling in disarray that their message of too much spending-too much government may resonate by the time of the 2010 midterm elections.

But, as Gallup noted:

Gallup's history of asking this question dates back to 1965. Since that time, Americans have always viewed big government as posing the greatest threat of the three institutions tested, although the percentage naming it has varied over time.

A glance at Gallup's chart makes clear that the gap between the percentage of Americans who see "big government" as a threat and those who see "big business" as a threat is smaller than it has been at nearly any point in the past 25 years -- a fact that pretty thoroughly undermines Malcolm's spin that the poll presents good news for the GOP.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.