These days, it is almost as telling what little gems media organizations choose to hide from the public about their own polls as what they share. The release of the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll is a fine example. As NewsBusters reported, the good folks at the “Today” show on Thursday seemed quite giddy over numbers that suggest the Republicans are in a lot of trouble in the upcoming midterm elections. However, as is typical, what wasn’t shared from this study conceivably gives a different picture.
For example, as is typical these days, news organizations don’t like to share the political affiliations of those questioned. Certainly, you can’t blame them, for this might give the public some pause to trust the veracity of the data. This instance was no exception, for those that were either “strong Democrat,” “Not very strong Democrat,” or “Independent/lean Democrat” totaled 43 percent of the respondents. The tally for “Strong Republican,” “Not very strong Republican,” and “Independent/lean Republican” was only 37 percent. As such, 16 percent more Democrats or those who leaned Democrat were polled versus Republicans and those who leaned Republican. Color me not surprised.
But, that’s only the beginning. NBC’s Washington bureau chief and host of “Meet the Press” made a big deal about the low rating for Congress today, and how that might play a part in the growing storm for the Democrats. However, what Russert ignored was that the disapproval for Congress was actually higher in 1992 (78 percent vs. today’s 75), but the Democrats actually increased their hold of the Senate by two seats, and only lost twelve seats in the House continuing to hold a sizable majority of 258 to 176. As such, huge voter disapproval of Congress has not always caused a turnover of control.
Taking this further, the Congressional control by party results have not always been a good forecaster of election outcome. For example, in October 1998, two percent more respondents in this poll were hoping for Democrats to control the next Congress. Instead, the Republicans kept their ten seat majority in the Senate, and only lost five seats in the House maintaining control. In October 2004, one percent more respondents wanted the Democrats to regain control of Congress in this poll. The Republicans increased their majority by eight seats in the Senate, and picked up eight seats in the House.
Finally, the “Today” show gang chose to ignore economic issues as gas prices plummet and stock prices skyrocket. How can you blame them, for the President’s approval rating concerning his handling of the economy rose to 44 percent in this poll, the highest such rating he’s enjoyed since February 2005.
Certainly wouldn’t want your viewers to know that, would you?