Straw Poll

The dog pound’s most incorrigible liar again tries to pull the wool over our eyes. But there’s a catch.
Of all the fabulists at the newshounds kennel, none is more prolific than the one who uses the name ‘Priscilla’. We first met her more than four years ago, when she kicked off her career with a blatant lie: an evocative description of something that Fox News never aired. (In true newspoodle fashion, that lie still stands today, four and a half years later, with no apology or correction.) Since then Prissy has enjoyed a career of misinformation second to none. (And, she’s a bigot too!) So what sort of chicanery is she up to this time?

In an effort to convince viewers that American Catholics don't support the mandate, they [Fox] are using a polling data from Rasmussen which traditionally skews Republican with loaded questions posed to elicit a response that coincides with whatever right wing meme they are promoting.

Um, do you notice something missing there? That’s right: no links. No links to her contention that Rasmussen Reports, an independent polling operation, skews Republican. No links to her unsupported claim that the questions are loaded to promote a ‘right wing meme’. Does Prissy seriously believe that anyone is going to take her word for it--with her history of congenital lying? For the record, the last time there was a Presidential election a Fordham University study found Rasmussen to the most accurate pollster of all. Isn’t it odd that Priscilla doesn’t mention this? Could this be a lie of omission?

Note that Prissy doesn’t even give the wording of Rasmussen’s question on the mandate--the question she claims is skewed and loaded! But J$P will tell you what Priscilla won’t. Here’s the ‘skewed’, ‘loaded’, ‘right wing meme infested’ question that Prissy doesn’t want you to see:

The requirement to provide contraceptives for women violates deeply held beliefs of some churches and religious organizations. If providing such coverage violates the beliefs of a church or religious organization, should the government still require them to provide coverage for contraceptives? 39% Yes - 50% No - 10% Not sure.

Well, it’s clear now why Priscilla wanted to keep that a secret. Prissy continues:

Rasmussen has a poll that shows that 50% of Americans oppose the mandate. Meanwhile, PPP has polling data that is very different with 55% of Americans and 58% of Catholics supporting it.

Ah, PPP, which in this case stands for Prissy’s Preferred Pollster. Why does Priscilla like PPP so much? Perhaps because they are a Democratic polling outfit. What, Prissy didn’t mention that? Count that up as another lie of omission. Jay Leve of SurveyUSA doesn’t think much of PPP’s partisan approach:

Leve is careful to make the distinction between a partisan firm, such as PPP, trying to attract partisan clients and his non-partisan research firm, which conducts much of its horse-race polling for local media clients.

But as Prissy’s Preferred Pollster, the fact that it’s a partisan Democratic outfit is a point in its favor! Here’s the question that Prissy cites as getting 55% support:

All employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception or birth control at no cost.

But there’s a catch. The question doesn’t ask about religious institutions at all, and the results show that only 27% ‘completely agree’ with that statement. But by adding up ‘completely agree’ with ‘mostly agree’--presto!--55% support! And that of course is phony, since anyone who ‘mostly agrees’ obviously disagrees about some situations, so can’t be counted as approving the mandate in every case. Another thing Prissy doesn’t tell you is that PPP asked a question that was exactly on point to the mandate controversy:

There is currently a debate over what kinds of health care plans some religious organizations should be required to provide. Do you think [insert; randomize] should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception or birth control at no cost, or not? What about [insert?]

Now this question corresponds to the issue in the news today. And what’s more it is directly analogous to the Rasmussen question noted above. So naturally, Priscilla doesn’t want her credulous readers to know about it. We’ll tell you what Priscilla won’t. The results regarding religiously affiliated colleges and hospitals: 49% support the mandate, 46% do not. Whoah! That’s a far cry from Prissy’s stats of 55% support.

But there’s another catch. The PPP poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.5%. So the 49-46 result is actually a statistical tie. In fact PPP’s oppose number of 46% could be as high as 49.5%. But wait, Wasn’t Rasmussen’s oppose number 50%? And his poll has a margin of error of 3%. So statistically, the oppose numbers of both polls are consistent given the margins of error. In other words, for all of Priscilla’s phony fulmination about ‘skewed’, ‘loaded questions’, both Rasmussen and PPP aren’t that different after all. So Prissy’s entire smear of Fox News proves to be built on a foundation of straw: deceptive, dishonest, and literally about nothing at all.

You don’t need Rasmussen or PPP to tell you that the kennel’s most fertile Fox-hating fabricator has embarrassed herself yet again. No wonder she keeps her real name secret.
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