Poll games: read those crosstabs!

Rosslyn Smith
Today brings a classic example of why one should always follow the link to the poll itself, concentrating on the crosstabs while ignoring the media spin.  Question 23 of a new CNN poll of adults asks

In another proposal, Congress would raise the debt ceiling only if a balanced budget amendment were passed by both houses of Congress and substantial spending cuts and caps on future spending were approved. Would you favor or oppose this proposal?

A remarkable 66% of those polled favored the above description of the Republican Cut Cap and Balance plan, yet most readers of the CNN story on the matter will never know this because CNN reported the poll results as: Strong partisan divide on debt ceiling. Here are CNN's opening paragraphs.

Washington (CNN) - Americans are hungry for a solution to the debt ceiling debate but there is a big partisan divide that isn't going to make a solution easy to achieve, according to a new national survey.

And a CNN/ORC International Poll also indicates that while Democrats and independent voters are open to a number of different approaches, Republicans draw the line at tax increases, and many of them oppose raising the nation's debt ceiling under any circumstances.

"That may create a problem for the Republican party, because most Americans think that GOP has been acting irresponsibly in the debt ceiling talks and they will blame congressional Republicans, not President Barack Obama, if no action is taken on the debt ceiling by August 2," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Talk about burying the lead when it favors Republicans!   As Ed Morrissey at Hot Air notes:

One has to go thirteen paragraphs into the story to find CNN addressing this at all:

Republicans like the "cut, cap, and balance" approach to the debt ceiling, as do Democrats and independents. Most Americans support a balanced budget amendment, and most, but not as many, think an amendment is necessary to get federal spending under control. A balanced budget amendment passed the House earlier this week, but a vote in the Senate is expected to fail.

Er, yeah.  In other words, a consensus exists across all political lines that the CCB/BBA approach would be a good idea.  When one scrolls down to the crosstab sections of the raw data, the consensus becomes very, very clear.  The CCB/BBA approach wins majorities in every single demographic - including self-described liberals.  Sixty-three percent of Democrats back the House bill.  The least supportive age demographic is 50-64YOs at 62/37; the least supportive regional demographic is the Midwest at 61/39.  Even those who express opposition to the Tea Party supports it 53/47.

In other words, it's a clean sweep.  Simply put, there is no political demographic at all where the CCB/BBA doesn't get majority support.  The BBA on its own does even better.  It gets 3-1 support (74/24), and except for those Tea Party opponents (56%) and self-professed liberals (61/37), doesn't get below 70% support in any demographic.

Guess what doesn't get much support?  The McConnell plan.  Respondents rejected the idea of letting Obama raise the debt ceiling on his own, 34/65.  Not one single demographic supports the idea, not even Democrats (40/60) or liberals (34/65).

 

Today brings a classic example of why one should always follow the link to the poll itself, concentrating on the crosstabs while ignoring the media spin.  Question 23 of a new CNN poll of adults asks

In another proposal, Congress would raise the debt ceiling only if a balanced budget amendment were passed by both houses of Congress and substantial spending cuts and caps on future spending were approved. Would you favor or oppose this proposal?

A remarkable 66% of those polled favored the above description of the Republican Cut Cap and Balance plan, yet most readers of the CNN story on the matter will never know this because CNN reported the poll results as: Strong partisan divide on debt ceiling. Here are CNN's opening paragraphs.

Washington (CNN) - Americans are hungry for a solution to the debt ceiling debate but there is a big partisan divide that isn't going to make a solution easy to achieve, according to a new national survey.

And a CNN/ORC International Poll also indicates that while Democrats and independent voters are open to a number of different approaches, Republicans draw the line at tax increases, and many of them oppose raising the nation's debt ceiling under any circumstances.

"That may create a problem for the Republican party, because most Americans think that GOP has been acting irresponsibly in the debt ceiling talks and they will blame congressional Republicans, not President Barack Obama, if no action is taken on the debt ceiling by August 2," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Talk about burying the lead when it favors Republicans!   As Ed Morrissey at Hot Air notes:

One has to go thirteen paragraphs into the story to find CNN addressing this at all:

Republicans like the "cut, cap, and balance" approach to the debt ceiling, as do Democrats and independents. Most Americans support a balanced budget amendment, and most, but not as many, think an amendment is necessary to get federal spending under control. A balanced budget amendment passed the House earlier this week, but a vote in the Senate is expected to fail.

Er, yeah.  In other words, a consensus exists across all political lines that the CCB/BBA approach would be a good idea.  When one scrolls down to the crosstab sections of the raw data, the consensus becomes very, very clear.  The CCB/BBA approach wins majorities in every single demographic - including self-described liberals.  Sixty-three percent of Democrats back the House bill.  The least supportive age demographic is 50-64YOs at 62/37; the least supportive regional demographic is the Midwest at 61/39.  Even those who express opposition to the Tea Party supports it 53/47.

In other words, it's a clean sweep.  Simply put, there is no political demographic at all where the CCB/BBA doesn't get majority support.  The BBA on its own does even better.  It gets 3-1 support (74/24), and except for those Tea Party opponents (56%) and self-professed liberals (61/37), doesn't get below 70% support in any demographic.

Guess what doesn't get much support?  The McConnell plan.  Respondents rejected the idea of letting Obama raise the debt ceiling on his own, 34/65.  Not one single demographic supports the idea, not even Democrats (40/60) or liberals (34/65).