Friday, May 13, 2005

Poll This

"Scientific poll" is an oxymoron. Here's why:

A Strib poll published today asked the question (for some reason the question was not published online. This is copied verbatim from the dead tree version):

You may have heard recently about a dispute in the U.S. Senate about confirming judicial nominees, which has cast the spot light on the use of the filibuster. For more than a century, Senate minority parties have used the filibuster to block votes on things they oppose and prevent majority parties from having too much power. The current rule requires 60 votes to end a filibuster. There is talk about changing that rule so a simple majority of 51 senators could end a filibuster and bring matters to a vote. Should the Senate leave the process alone, or should they make it easier to cut off filibusters?

Not surprisingly, 48% of respondents said "leave it alone", and 36% said "nuke 'em".

That's the response from the final draft of the question. I wonder what the numbers would have been if the Strib's polling company went with what I imagine was the original draft:

You may have heard recently about a dispute in the U.S. Senate about confirming judicial nominees, which has cast the spot light on the use of the filibuster. The wingnuts wish to install nazi judges who will make it legal for Karl Rove to eat your babies. The valiant Democrats are the only ones standing in the way of this mass infanticide. For more than a century, Senate minority parties have used the filibuster to block votes on things they oppose, like judicially mandated religion, and prevent majority parties from having too much power. The current rule requires 60 votes to end a filibuster. There is talk about changing that rule so a simple majority of 51 senators could end a filibuster and bring matters to a vote. Should the Senate leave the process alone, or should they make it easier for Karl Rove to eat your children?

I'm guessing it would be 99 to 1.

I wonder what the numbers would be if they painted a more accurate picture of the situation:

You may have heard recently about a dispute in the U.S. Senate about confirming judicial nominees, which has cast the spot light on the use of the filibuster. For more than a century, Senate minority parties have used the filibuster to block votes on things they oppose and prevent majority parties from having too much power. Of course, those instances all involved legislation wherein there is room for compromise on the substance of the filibustered bill, as opposed judicial nominees which can only be subjected to an up or down vote. The current rule requires 60 votes to end a filibuster. There is talk about changing that rule so a simple majority of 51 senators could end a filibuster and allow the Senate to perform what the constitution commands it to do in these circumstances: advise and consent. Should the Senate continue to allow the minority to only allow a vote on those judges who are only to the left of Ruth Bader Ginsburg while labeling anyone who doesn't believe that the constitution is a "living document" as extremists, or should they make it easier for the Senate to do its constitutional duty?

Note to moonbats: no bringing up the fact that I didn't rip on the recent polls regarding Tim Pawlenty's high approval rating or the unpopularity of same-sex marriage. I'm just pointing out that the language of this question was incredibly slanted. I have no faith in any of these polls. Read the first line of this post again, and then please go back to Atrios where you belong.

UPDATE: I have put up a new poll using question drafting techniques similar to those of the Strib's pollsters.

No comments: