Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Catch of the Day

Yesterday, actually, but anyway: Greg Sargent nails Rassmussen.
With the Bush "nostalgia" tour in full swing, Rasmussen releases a new poll with a rather amusing headline that seems designed to suggest the former president's reputation is looking up:
A Majority Now Sees Bush As Somewhere in Between Best and Worst Presidents
It turns out 37 percent of likely voters think Bush was one of the worst presidents ever, more than four times the nine percent who think he was one of the best.

But no matter: Fifty-three percent now say he's somewhere in between the best and the worst!
Nice catch.  

I'll note that Bush appears to have rallied just a bit in CNN's version (which had a whopping 4% saying Bush was "one of the greatest."  His favorable/unfavorable is definitely up from where it was when he was president, but it's still lousy; Gallup's latest, earlier this month, is 44/53.


  1. I predict that today's temperature will be somewhere between the hottest and coldest days on record.

  2. Both Rasmussen and CNN use robopollers and their methodology is completely and utterly worthless. Running these one-night surveys of landlines results in a highly biased sample that cannot be fixed by weighting or any other statistical manipulation. In fact, robopoller samples are highly biased towards older (over 50), white, rural people. In fact, CNN is consistently unable to report out any results for the 18-34 year old age group. Take a look at the cross-tabs here in this CNN pdf to see what I mean (page 10): Full results (pdf) You can calculate the distribution of their sample by the MoE to see how extremely skewed it is.

    The methodological problems with robopolling have become worse in the past two years; cell-phone-only households are around 25% of the population. Here is an excellent piece by Pew on the issue -- there is some very interesting data tables in the piece, but take a look at that nice chart at the bottom which shows the exact bias that landline-only surveys show.
    Assessing the Cell Phone Challenge - Pew Research Center

    Here's another Pew piece on the issue:
    Cell Phones and Election Polls: An Update - Pew Research Center

    CNN's polls, and Rasmussen robopolls, are complete junk, absolutely worthless, and reputable bloggers and journalists shouldn't be touting them.

    Here's more on the problems with their methods, from the director of Field Poll: Rise of Robopolling

  3. Technically, anyone who doesn't think Bush is the absolute best or the absolute worst president believes he's "somewhere in between best and worst." If you think he's the second-best president ever, right behind Lincoln, or the second-worst president ever, right after Buchanan, then you're part of that 53% who think he's neither the best nor the worst. This is inane.


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