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Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Newsmax Touts Biased Poll On Wis. Controversy
Topic: Newsmax

A Feb. 21 Newsmax article is a actually a press release from Rasmussen Reports about its latest poll, which found that "48% of Likely U.S. Voters agree more with the Republican governor" in Wisconsin "in his dispute with union workers," while 38 percent "agree more with the unionized public employees.

Since all Newsmax did is copy-and-paste the Rasmussen press release -- though it's not labeled as such -- there's no critical analysis of it.

But as Nate Silver of reports, the Rasmussen poll introduces bias into the poll by asking, "Should teachers, firemen and policemen be allowed to go on strike?" In fact, police and fire services are specifically exempted from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's attempted restrictions on public sector unions. Thus Silver writes, the question is "a talking point posed as a question."

Another question in the Rasmussen poll asking whether "the average public employee in your state" earns more or less than "the average private sector worker in your state" is a "pop quiz" that doesn't belong in a poll, Silver writes. In fact, he notes, one analysis found that state employees typically earn slightly less than comparable employees in the private sector.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:02 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 12:07 AM EST

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