Monday, October 25, 2010

Associated Press Blows it on Health Care Poll Reporting

What's up with the Associated Press (AP)? Seems it's been captured by the transnational corporations too (like the other three branches: U.S. Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Executive). AP has teamed up on polling with GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications... I'm not kidding, that's their name.

I was drawn to this realization after reading a recent AP article entitled, "AP-GfK Poll: Americans Split On Health Care Repeal." Oh really? "Split" usually means 50 percent for and 50 percent against.

So, out come the latest AP corporate communications numbers on the recent health care legislation:

40% Support Health Care legislation
11% Neutral on it
51% Total

45% Oppose the Health Care legislation

45% to 51% percent is almost a "split," only six points apart, but not on "repeal" of the legislation.

32% want to repeal it completely, which isn't exactly a "split" when compared with 40% who "support."

But what really got me was that the AP article makes the lame oversight that so many polls do on this topic; it doesn't directly address the question that some people who are "opposed" to the legislation didn't feel it goes far enough to truly reform health care. Well it did, but it stacked that number up against "repeal" and called it a "split."

I went to the Oct. 13-18, 2010 corporate communications poll [PDF] to look at the numbers. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the follow-up question, "of those opposed, who wants stronger legislation?" But, you can get close to the answer of that question. Here are the numbers:

18% say leave the Health Care legislation as it is.
39% say change the Health Care legislation so it does MORE.
57% Total say keep it the same or stronger Health Care legislation

9% say change the Health Care legislation so it does LESS.
32% say completely repeal the Health Care legislation.
41% Total say make it weaker or repeal it.

41% Repeal or does LESS, 57% Keep as-is or does MORE. This should have been the headline, not a lame twisting of the number to say Americans are "split" on wanting to repeal the Health Care legislation.

Instead, AP cherry picks two numbers from "likely voters" that fit a story line: Those who want stronger health care legislation and those who want repeal it, as if that is a logical comparison.

But, the damage of the headline is done, less than two weeks before the elections. Shame on the Associated Press and its corporate communications partner. It's telling that it was AP's corporate communications partner that does the interpretation of the poll video.

Let AP Know What You Think:

Contact AP:

Phone: 212 621-1500

Contact FAIR: Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting to let them know what you think.



1 comment:

  1. Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!I think you made a very fine analysis of this situation. Thanks for sharing! I hope all your readers will vote for truth.

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