Can MSNBC’s Martin Bashir really be this ill-informed?
Consider that on Monday’s installment of the program hysterically bearing his own name, Bashir made it seem that he believes if a poll questioned 21 percent Republicans, that means only 21 percent of Americans identify themselves as Republican (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
After introducing his guests and showing a number of video clips of Republicans, Bashir said, “When Republicans aren’t attacking the President, they seem to be attacking each other as you could see, and the public really is noticing. According to the latest Washington Post poll, just 21 percent of the American people identify themselves as Republicans.”
The most recent Washington Post/ABC News poll released last Wednesday did indeed question 21 percent Republicans, 31 percent Democrats, 37 percent Independents, and 11 percent that said “Other” or “Don’t know.”
But that doesn’t mean that’s where the American population currently is. That means this was the breakdown of the respondents called by the pollster.
Is it possible that Bashir, a man with his own nationally televised program, doesn’t understand this?
Pollsters such as Gallup regularly do party affiliation polls. According to Gallup's most recent, the current breakdown is 25 percent Republican, 31 percent Democrat, and 42 percent Indepedent.
When independent leaners are factored in, those numbers are 40 percent Republican, 46 percent Democrat.
However, more importantly as it pertains to Bashir, the recent decline in party affiliation is for Democrats not Republicans.
Last December, Gallup found 38 percent of Americans identified as Democrat. The number for Republicans was the same 25 percent as it is this July.
As such, Bashir's contention that there's been a decline in Republican affiliation is nonsense. This has fluctuated between 25 and 29 percent for the last twelve months.
One final note here: one of Bashir's guests during this segment was the Washington Post's Nia Malika Henderson. She chose not to correct her host's mistake concerning her paper's own poll.
I guess that would have been too much like journalism.