Coming soon from Rasmussen: a majority of children would rather slide down a rainbow than clean their rooms.
No less magical is the latest Rasmussen poll measuring support for the government's role facilitating GM's bankruptcy:
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 56% of American Adults believe it would have been better if GM had used the regular bankruptcy procedures and left ownership in the private sector. Thirty-two percent (32%) believe it was appropriate for the government to use the special bankruptcy process in exchange for bailout money. Twelve percent (12%) are not sure.
Experts have maintained that "the regular bankruptcy procedures" were not available to GM and Chrysler in 2008 and 2009 because the financial crisis had eviscerated credit markets. Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi, who advised Sen. John McCain during his 2008 presidential campaign, wrote in November 2008 that private financing for a traditional bankruptcy "would be impossible to get" on account of the financial crisis. Jonathan Cohn, senior editor at The New Republic, pointed out: "the same Wall Street meltdown that has dragged down the economy and GM sales has also dried up the ... money GM would need to operate" in bankruptcy.
If the economy as a whole were in reasonably good shape and the credit markets were functioning, Chapter 11 would be the way to go. Under current circumstances, however, a default by GM would probably mean loss of ability to pay suppliers, which would mean liquidation -- and that, in turn, would mean wiping out probably well over a million jobs at the worst possible moment.
The myth that GM and Chrysler could have gone through "traditional" bankruptcy persists in large part so that the right can excuse Mitt Romney's opposition to the government facilitating those bankruptcies in the absence of any alternative. Rasmussen's polling, based on pure fantasy, only serves to prop up that myth.
Then again, maybe there was a leprechaun with a pot of gold.
On his website and during interviews, Scott Rasmussen portrays himself as an "independent pollster" who doesn't have a stake in the fortunes of either political party. Yet Rasmussen, who has been criticized for producing polling that favors conservatives, recently headlined two Republican fundraisers.
On February 11, Rasmussen was the keynote speaker at the Twin Falls Lincoln Day Celebration, which benefited the Republican Party of Twin Falls County, Idaho. Ticket packages for the dinner ran from $75 for general seating to $2,5000 for an eight person "platinum table." Republicans could also attend a $250 "Private VIP Reception" with Rasmussen; buy an autographed copy of Rasmussen's book ($25); and take a picture with Rasmussen ($25).
Event chairwoman Mya Goodman told Media Matters in an email that the party paid Rasmussen a fee of $15,000 plus travel to speak and the party chose Rasmussen "because we felt that his topic would be interesting and relevant to the current election cycle."
The following week, Rasmussen headlined a February 18 Lincoln Day fundraiser for the Manatee County Republican Party of Florida. Tickets for the event were reportedly $100. An email to the party was not returned. Local party chairwoman Kathleen King said in a December press release: "Rasmussen is a reliable and driving force in American Politics. Party activists are excited to hear what Rasmussen has to say when all eyes are watching the evolving contest for the Republican presidential nominee and the future make-up of the U.S. House and Senate."
A Rasmussen Reports spokesperson responded in an email to questions about whether Rasmussen's Republican fundraising clouds his claims to be an "independent pollster":
"Fair and balanced" Fox News informed its viewers that Ronald Reagan loved America, and Barack Obama doesn't.
In a segment Tuesday during one of its "news" shows, America Live, Megyn Kelly hosted pollster Scott Rasmussen and President Reagan's son Michael Reagan to discuss comments from Rick Santorum that Obama "doesn't believe America is a source for good." The segment featured a Rasmussen poll purporting to show that Americans agree with Santorum's assessment. The segment went on to falsely claim that Ronald Reagan never apologized for America, and insinuated that President Obama doesn't love the country that elected him.
The segment began with a clip of Rick Santorum speaking in Ronald Reagan's hometown of Dixon, Illinois, in which he declared: "We have a president who doesn't believe that America is a source for good. Ronald Reagan quoting John Winthrop's shining city on a hill. To President Obama, we are a source of policy that required this president to go around the world and repeatedly apologize for America and what they did -- we've done in this world. Ronald Reagan would never apologize for the greatest country in the history of the world." Then Kelly spoke:
KELLY: Santorum's enjoying that husky voice thing, isn't he? That was former Senator Rick Santorum speaking yesterday in Dixon, Illinois, Ronald Reagan's hometown, in front of a statue of Ronald Reagan on a horse. And a new poll suggests that a majority of Americans agree that this country is fair and decent, that shining city on a hill. In a new Rasmussen Reports poll, 64 percent of Americans say they think we live in a fair and decent society, 26 percent disagree. But take a look at this. The majority of Americans, when asked, believe thatPresident Obama sees this country as unfair and discriminatory.
Kelly then asked, "So what's up with the discrepancy?"
If Kelly wanted to know where Americans might have acquired such a notion, she should watch her own network. Fox News has repeatedly promoted claims that Obama is "selling out America," that he "has contempt for the history of America or America or Western civilization," that all he likes about America is that we elected him, that he has "malevolence" toward America, and that he has an "un-American, almost anti-American mentality."
If you were surprised Rasmussen issued a poll yesterday finding that a plurality of "likely voters" side with Wisconsin's Republican governor in that state's battle over union rights, then you haven't been paying attention. Because of course Rasmussen has a GOP-friendly poll to frame whatever topic is being debated this week.
Specifically, what's wrong with the automated phone poll that found 48% of respondents "agree more with the Republican governor in his dispute with union workers"? Nate Silver points out a key problem with one of the questions included as part of the union survey:
3: Should teachers, firemen and policemen be allowed to go on strike?
Silver writes that the loaded question, which introduces firemen and policemen into the conflict despite the fact they are specifically not part of the Wisconsin showdown, essentially taints respondents. Worse, Rasmussen taints them right before they're asked whether they back Walker in his "dispute with union workers."
Silver explains [emphasis added]:
By invoking the prospect of such strikes, which are illegal in many places (especially for the uniformed services) and which many people quite naturally object to, the poll could potentially engender a less sympathetic reaction toward the protesters in Wisconsin. It is widely recognized in the scholarship on the subject, and I have noted before, that earlier questions in a survey can bias the response to later ones by framing an issue in a particular way and by casting one side of the argument in a less favorable light.
The Rasmussen example is more blatant than most. While many teachers have been among the protesters at the State Capitol in Madison, obliging the city to close its schools for days, there have been no reports of reductions in police or fire services, and in fact, uniformed services are specifically exempted from the proposals that the teachers and other public-sector employees are protesting. So bringing in the uniformed services essentially makes No. 3 a talking point posed as a question.
As an analogy, imagine a survey that asked respondents whether they believed the Democrats' health care overhaul included "death panels" before asking them whether they approved or disapproved of the bill over all.
The Huffington Post's Mark Blumenthal also highlights the flaws in Rasmussen's latest, noting the poll "appears to lead respondents to a desired result."
As we've noted many times, Rasmussen's work often appears to be a weird hybrid of polling and partisan propaganda. The problem is polling is supposed to be a science. Rasmussen treats it more like a sport.
Poll results from Rasmussen Reports consistently overstated Republican performance in the midterm elections, according to The New York Times' Nate Silver. Rasmussen polls and analysis have been criticized by polling experts who note that they often harmonize with narratives favored by conservatives and Republicans. Indeed, the polling company is a favorite of Fox News, which has cited Rasmussen polls at least 94 times in the past three months.
It doesn't take long to spot a lie in the new tea party book by Scott Rasmussen and Doug Schoen -- Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System.
On page four in the book's introduction, the authors write (highlighting added):
For something to be "patently false" it must actually be false and not demonstrably true. Unfortunately for Rasmussen and Schoen, the later happens to be the case.
Let's look at this piece-by-piece, shall we?
From th May 18 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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... they're as inaccurate as Howard Kurtz.
Pollster.com's Mark Blumenthal points out a Rasmussen poll question asking "Should the government set limits on how much salt Americans can eat?" As Blumenthal notes:
The Institute of Medicine is proposing to limit the amount of salt in processed food. No one is urging the government to restrict the sale of salt or "set limits on how much salt Americans can eat." Even if "public health groups" got their way, anyone could still choose to salt their food as much as they want.
Last week, Kurtz gave Washington Post readers a similarly bogus explanation of the salt controversy, as I explained at the time.
A Rasmussen poll asked whether President Obama believes "Supreme Court justices should decide cases based on what's written in the Constitution and legal precedents or does he believe they should decide cases by a sense of fairness and justice," and gave no indication whether respondents were given the choice to say both. In fact, Obama has stated that he is looking for justices that both follow the law and have empathy.
From the January 4 broadcast of MSNBC's Countdown:
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