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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ballance in a cold Climate

It is getting harder and harder for The Washington Post to achieve ballance. It is hard to be enough more than fair to a party which is denouncing special deals while abstructing the removal of those special deals to make them seem non-appalling. But when the going gets tough the tough get going, and Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery are tough.

They write "Democrats circulated data from a new Gallup/USA Today poll that suggested public opinion on the legislation had started to shift in their favor." Note they don't describe, you know, the data. They are "49%, said passing the bill was "a good thing" as opposed to just 40% who said the passage of the reform bill was bad for the country."

That's not has started to shift in their favour. That is has shifted in their favour as the polls has a statistically significant plurality in their favor. Maybe Gallup is just not considered a reputable polling firm.

Now I think the issue is partly that Newspapers do not steal each others' polling data. The poll was commissioned by USA Today. There may be a norm that you don't publish data produced at some other newspapers expense even if you have them (ooops I published the data. Sorry USA Today).

But "started to shift in their favour" is an extreme understatment *and* the fact reported by Gallup is presented as Democratic spin.

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