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Misleading Poll Suggested Voters Didn’t Blame Democrats for Shutdown

Many newspapers reported information that gave comfort to Democrats in their confrontation with Republicans over shutting down the government, touting a poll that showed a combined 48 percent of voters blamed either Trump or Republicans in Congress for the shutdown, while only 35 percent blamed Democrats.

Breaking it down, 34 percent blamed Trump, 15 percent blamed congressional Republicans, and 35 percent blamed Democrats. Yes, 34 and 15 add up to 49 percent, not 48 percent – I assume we are either dealing with numbers being rounded or English majors who can’t do math.

Here’s the problem, and it’s one that should have been evident to unbiased pollsters. Voters are being given three choices, not two. That makes it less likely that they are going to choose any one of the three, whatever the choice or question. And so fewer than might have chose Democrats as being the ones to blame than Trump or Republicans – who should have been grouped together in the poll since they are taking the same stance on the issue. That is, it should have been an “either/or” question, not “choose one of the three.”

In fact, that’s exactly what Gallup did back in 2011 when Congress and the president, then Barack Obama, were facing a government shutdown. Gallup properly combined Obama and the Democrats.

Were the question framed properly in the most recent poll, which was done over the weekend, the result might still have given Democrats an edge, but it might not have. That is suggested by another question in the poll, which I haven’t seen mentioned, that asked voters who was to blame for the failure to pass a spending bill that caused the shutdown. In that case, voters were given only two choices: Republicans in the Senate or Democrats in the Senate. Thirty-nine percent blamed Democrats, and 37 percent blamed Republicans.

7 Responses to Misleading Poll Suggested Voters Didn’t Blame Democrats for Shutdown

  1. Little wonder about the poll results (biased as they are). The local newspapers and television news here have been running daily stories for a year about how everything wrong with Washington (now including the “shutdown” of course) is all Trump’s fault and the saintly and virtuous Democrats are just trying to save us from Trump. They pound that point every single day. Same thing around most of the country, I would imagine.

  2. Garbage in, garbage out. After the election in 2016, why would anyone trust a poll? You don’t know their methods of data collection, who they are polling and how it is weighted. Or who is paying for it.

  3. Shutdown. Heck, most of us wish they would shut down 3/4ths of DC for a year.
    Pay the important stuff and let the rest dwindle until they die.
    In truth, no one panicked because of the shutdown, no one at all. It’s S.O.P. for DC.

  4. It doesn’t matter how the polls were spun to the public.

    The Democrats had the internal numbers, they looked bad and that’s why they caved.

    Next.

  5. If the Democrats weren’t worried about their numbers they never would have voted overwhelmingly to re-open the government.
    The Democrats grossly over estimated America’s love for illegal aliens, especially when it comes to short changing tax paying citizens.
    I hope the lesson will be as painful for them as it was for the GOP in 2013.
    Maybe the Schumer Shutdown combined with the corrupt FBI and DOJ tell all of the Obama years will be enough to hand the Democrats a giant crap sandwich in November.