The PJ Tatler

Did the NYT/CBS pack their poll to inflate support for unions?

Maybe!  The NYT and CBS released a poll last night that looks rough for anyone even thinking about cutting government spending by challenging the government unions,  my antennae were raised a bit but I didn’t have time to look into it. It looks bad: 60% backing the government unions. 56% opposing cutting union benefits in any way to help balance public budgets. How can this be?

Taking a fresh look today, here’s what jumps out.

The nationwide telephone poll was conducted Feb. 24-27 with 984 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all adults. Of those surveyed, 20 percent said there was a union member in their household, and 25 percent said there was a public employee in their household.

Plus/minus three points is typical of a national poll, but the percentages stating that there is a union member in their household is not. Not even close. Let’s take a second look at the post I did on February 24th. In that post, I cited some Bureau of Labor stats showing union membership trends. According to the BLS, union membership has dropped to just 11.9% nationwide (the lowest rate in 70 years, according to the NYT). But the NYT/CBS poll cites 20% of respondents saying there is a union member in the household. And 25% saying there is a public employee in the household as well, which also oversamples public sector workers by a good click.

So the NYT/CBS poll oversampled unions in their poll, by a little over 8 percentage points, and public sector workers as well. Both are bound to impact the poll results a bit, no?