The New York Times Suggests that You Shouldn't Trust Its Own Polls

Shannen Coffin spots some curious caveats in today’s NYT poll:

Yet, polls capture only a particular moment in time, and can be influenced by the way questions are asked or the mix of people who are surveyed. In The Times/CBS News poll, the margin of sampling error could mean the president’s approval rating is as high as 44 percent or as low as 38 percent, at a 95 percent confidence level.


True, as is true of every opinion poll, but prior to 2009 the Times wasn’t so quick to poopoo its own polls. The Old Gray Somethingorother must be a bit worried about what its own poll is saying. What might be the cause of that worry? Well, on question 73 and 74 of the poll, the Obamedia narrative encounters a serious disruption: 51 percent say that employers should be allowed to opt out of covering contraceptives, and 57 percent believe that religious employers should be able to opt out of covering contraceptives. And that’s despite the finding in question 76, that 51 percent believe the entire debate has been more about women’s health than about religious freedom.

In other words, the Obama regime’s messaging has largely worked: A majority sees the contraceptive debate as about women’s health. But a larger majority still sides with religious institutions and believes those institutions should be allowed to opt out of covering contraceptives. Sometimes even strong messaging with a media assist can’t make up for a bad policy.

And then there’s this:

In recent weeks, there has been much debate over the government’s role in guaranteeing insurance coverage for contraception, including for those who work for religious organizations. The poll found that women were split as to whether health insurance plans should cover the costs of birth control and whether employers with religious objections should be able to opt out.


Obama hoped that his mandate would help him pick up women (see what I did there?). It hasn’t, at least so far. Like nearly everything this president does, all the mandate has done is divide Americans along fairly predictable lines of faith or no faith, and their political predispositions.

This president fundamentally misunderstands the nation that elected him. Men don’t all think alike, and neither do women, or any minority group, or Democrats or Republicans. He sees us as existing in rigidly quantifiable groups — all women think this way, all Democrats think this way, and so forth. That’s just not the way people work. The mandate may have mobilized some women voters, but it has just as likely turned off other women voters. For every Sandra Fluke, and hopefully there aren’t many of them, there’s likely a women out there who is running a business or is on a church organization board, and understands what the mandate really means to her business or organization. It’s somewhat ironic, that the supposedly “empowered” liberal Flukes are essentially begging for government handouts to cover their personal expenses, while the supposedly more traditional women may be more likely to oppose those handouts. The president has banked on no one ever figuring that out, or that Republicans can motivate men and women in their own base by highlighting the mandate as a government power grab, which is what it is.


Perhaps of greater worry for the president: In question 77, 54% believe that he can do a lot about the price of gas. Yet prices keep rising. Every tank of gas purchased at high prices erodes his support.

But hey, as the Times says, its poll is just a poll.



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