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CNN: Do we have to report that Bush is winning?

CNN is running a whopper of a headline/story: "Bush apparently leads Kerry in pre-debate poll"

As Steven Taylor accuratly points out, all polls are subject to question at some level. Why do they qualify this poll? The numbers don't support it:

Bush apparently leads Kerry in pre-debate poll
President's approval rating highest since January

(CNN) -- Headed into their first face-to-face debate, President Bush appears to be leading Democratic Sen. John Kerry among likely voters, with a clearer edge among registered voters.

The CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows that among likely voters, Bush was the choice of 52 percent, while Kerry was the choice of 44, percent and independent Ralph Nader garnered 3 percent. That result was within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

In the broader category of registered voters, 53 percent supported Bush; 42 percent, Kerry; and 3 percent, Nader. That question had the same margin of error.

I wonder if the reporter was in tears having to report good news for Bush? Bush is up by 8 among likely and 11 among registered, yet CNN says Bush "apparently" leads and stresses the margin of error.

I guess they did it to downplay the great internals for Bush:

Although the poll showed Americans divided almost evenly over whether they approve of the president's Iraq policy, 55 percent said it was not a mistake to send U.S. troops there, compared with 42 percent who thought it was a mistake.

And a majority, 53 percent, said they would support Bush if he wanted to send still more troops to Iraq.

Asked which man would better handle the situation in Iraq, 55 percent said Bush and 41 percent said Kerry. Two months ago, they were tied on that question.

The poll also showed Bush's job approval rating at 54 percent -- the highest since January -- and it found increased public approval for the president's handling of the economy, terrorism, the situation in Iraq and foreign affairs.

Among likely voters, 49 percent also said they believe Kerry would lead the country in the wrong direction, compared with just 44 percent who thought he would lead it in the right direction. But 54 percent of likely voters thought Bush would take America in the right direction; only 44 thought he would move the country in the wrong direction.

In the poll, Bush got higher marks than Kerry on handling the economy, Iraq and terrorism. (read the rest)

CNN is apparently a news organization but from this report, it is within the margin of error.


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Comments (15)

CNN is apparently a news... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

CNN is apparently a news organization but from this report, it is within the margin of error.

I think that's the point: if you add four points to Kerry and subtract four points from Bush, they're tied. So it seems to me the "apparently" is justified if you allow that circumstance.

Where I wonder about their analysis is my (possibly flawed) understanding that you only get a total of four points here, not eight.

So, having flipped and flopped, I agree with you. :)

I don't see them putting th... (Below threshold)
Paul:

I don't see them putting the "apparently" tag on other polls.

By the same token, You could add 4 to Bush and take 4 from Kerry and Bush would lead by almost 20 points!

CNN apparently wants to be ... (Below threshold)

CNN apparently wants to be the next CBS

Just imagine Judy Woodruff ... (Below threshold)

Just imagine Judy Woodruff and Keith Olberman's love child... they'd have to call him Dan Rather!

That's about like saying Ke... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

That's about like saying Kerry is appearantly a liberal or Edwards seems to be an ambulance chaser.

This is the election in whi... (Below threshold)
Rod:

This is the election in which big media is outed. The leftist hacks parade their bias in all its naked glory. The blogs chronicle the lies.

The reason the youth vote is going to Bush is that they hate being lied to and they get a lot of news from the blogosphere.

Message to MSM: the old tricks don't work any more. Lie and die, suckers.

On January 20: "And now, Ge... (Below threshold)

On January 20: "And now, George W. Bush, alleged incumbent president who seems to have won last November's election, will apparently be sworn in for what is expected to be another four-year term. But first, these words from some people who claim to be our sponsors..."

There are two things to rem... (Below threshold)
Greg D:

There are two things to remember when thinking about the "margin of error":
1: If the MoE is 4%, that means there is a 95% chance that the poll's numbers are within 4% of the "correct" numbers.
2: The probability distribution is a bell curve, and the errors are somewhat independant of each other.

As a result, IIRC, the 95% likelihood MoE for difference between two candidates scores is 1.5 x the MoE.

Which is to say, that with a MoE of 4%, then if the reported difference between the two candidates scores is > 6%, then there is a greater than 95% chance that the candidate with the higher score is in fact ahead of the other one.

I guess that explains why F... (Below threshold)
Yogurt:

I guess that explains why Fox is "apparently" serving whup-ass to CNN...

"Apparently" the headline d... (Below threshold)
Roberto Keen:

"Apparently" the headline doesn't have to reflect the story.
So what's new?
Remember that CNN is the Clinton News Network.
Sadly, the general populace has been conditioned for years to trust the MSM.
Hopefully, the pendulum is swinging in the right (no pun intended) direction now.
The MSM media is not likely to change their colors very quickly.
With more of us looking ever more closely, their tactics will be exposed more and more.
They've been corroding slowly from the inside for a long time.
Now it has broken through to the surface for all to see.

Don't mean to be ticky-tack... (Below threshold)
ClusterChuck:

Don't mean to be ticky-tack, but you misspelled 'accurately' on the front page in this topic.

I would want to know, and so I thought you would want to know.

Greg - Excellent point. I r... (Below threshold)

Greg - Excellent point. I remembered the 95% part from a college statistics course, but I forgot that the bell curve would mean that the MoE's aren't stickly additive.

Thanks :-)

Note the dishonest wording:... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Note the dishonest wording:

The CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows that among likely voters, Bush was the choice of 52 percent, while Kerry was the choice of 44, percent and independent Ralph Nader garnered 3 percent. That result was within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

In the broader category of registered voters, 53 percent supported Bush; 42 percent, Kerry; and 3 percent, Nader. That question had the same margin of error.

For likely voters, as the article states, the result was in the margin of error, i.e, the lower end of Bush's range was 48, while the higher end of Kerry's was also 48. But for registered voters, the lower end of Bush's range is 49, while the higher end of Kerry's is 46. That is not in the margin of error, so the author chose the weasely formulation of "[t]hat question had the same margin of error," rather than the more honest "[t]hat result was outside the poll's margin of error..."

Yogurt--too funny! Thanks.<... (Below threshold)
beloml:

Yogurt--too funny! Thanks.

Good, let the MSM cause pe... (Below threshold)
Jim:

Good, let the MSM cause people to think Bush is in danger of losing. It only makes his supporters work harder. I'm always worried that high poll number will cause the Bush campaign to relax too soon. However, during Reagan's re-election campaign and Clinton's re-election campaign they were just about where Bush is in the polls. Newt Gingrich once said he expected Bush to win big -- perhaps as much as 56% of the vote. I've heard other folks -- people whose insight I trust -- say that the MSM will be shocked over how Bush will give Kerry a can of whup-ass.




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