Painful to Watch: MSNBC Anchor Doesn't Get How Partisan Breakdown Matters in Reliability of Polls

Apparently MSNBC's Thomas Roberts doesn't seem to get the importance of knowing the partisan breakdown of a poll's respondents to assessing that polls reliability. In the midst of a segment centered around President Obama's quasi-amnesty-by-fiat policy announced last week, token conservative panelist J.P. Freire poured cold water on a new Bloomberg poll that shows 64 percent of Americans agreeing with the president's announced halt on deportations. Freire observed that the poll doesn't break down how many Democrats and Republicans were sampled and that it is contradicted by other polls.

But for his part, Roberts seemed to believe that because the poll didn't get into the partisan allegiances of its respondents, it was evidence that the respondents were largely independent and hence a good sign for Obama's reelection in November. Roberts then hypocritically chided Freire for spouting unwarranted "assumptions" on his program.

"There is no party affiliation among those who have been polled," Freire told Roberts, adding that, "If you look at Gallup, if you look at Rasmussen, if you look at any other polls, there's been no shift."


"It doesn't seem that there's a ground swell of support for President Obama's support, and all it's really done is it's shown how little he's done on immigration for the last couple of years," the conservative blogger added.

"But, J.P., as you know, it's all really going to come down, in this election, to the independents, so if that poll that you're referring to with Bloomberg doesn't really have party affiliation attached to it, doesn't that even bode better for the president, the fact that independents, their ears are being picked up by this?" Roberts retorted, seeming to suggest the poll was heavily if not entirely comprised of political independents.

"No, because they could have called all Democrats in this, that's why it's important to note how many Democrats they talked to," Freire noted, at which point Roberts cut him off to charge him with making spurious assumptions:

ROBERTS: But there you're making assumptions, and you just told us journalistically we're not allowed to make assumptions, so which one is it?

FREIRE: No, we don't know who they talked to, that's the important thing. I'm not trying to accuse this poll of being dishonest, I'm just saying --


FREIRE: that because we do not know who they talked to--

ROBERTS: But let's not make assumptions, right? We're not making assumptions about whether or not Marco Rubio should or shouldn't be vetted, in contention or not in contention, so, let's not make assumptions on this.

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