By HUGH HEWITT, April 15, 2012, Washington Examiner
News organizations that commission polls on the presidential election and that then have their reporters write stories about the results of those polls ought to at least give some thought to the old injunction “Primum non nocere.”
“First, do no harm” is a pretty good rule for everyone in all circumstances, but it is especially appropriate for those allegedly committed to the old standards of journalism. Certainly no Pulitzer judge would honor a manufactured story, especially one that misled news consumers about the real facts of any situation.
Almost all “national” polls about the presidential race are at best entertainment, however, and some are downright disingenuous and a few intentionally misleading.
“[H]ere’s my bottom line,” The Weekly Standard’s Jay Cost wrote last week in the conclusion of his analysis of the most recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, which found President Obama to have a significant lead over Mitt Romney among all adults, and a huge lead on key measures such as likability.
“ABC News/WaPo has again offered up a pro-Democratic sample that helps Team Obama spin the day’s news,” Cost concluded.
Cost reached this “bottom line” because of the “hugely Democratic tilt” of the poll’s sample, which put questions to a population of respondents 11 percentage points higher in Democrat makeup than in GOP participants, “an unjustifiable number,” Cost concluded (his emphasis, not mine).