"Fair and balanced" polls


Stephen W. Stromberg
June 25, 2004 9:52PM (UTC)

A new Fox News survey manages to contradict most of the mainstream polling data out there on the presidential horse race. It gives President Bush a 7-point lead nationally in a three-way race against John Kerry and Ralph Nader. In a two-way race, Bush's lead slims to 6 percent. You can read it all in this article from Fox News' Web site. Compare that to yesterday's CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, taken at almost exactly the same time, which shows the three-way race to be in a statistical dead heat.

Fox's poll numbers are equally contrary when it comes to swing states. According to the Fox poll, in a two-way race, the president would carry Pennsylvania 47 percent to 44 percent. But according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, also released yesterday, in a two-way race, Kerry would take the state by a comfortable 6-point margin. Fox's survey also showed Bush winning a three way race in Ohio with 45 percent to Kerry's 41 percent and Nader's 4 percent. The latest American Research Group poll, taken at the same time, however, gives Kerry 49 percent, Bush 43 percent and Nader 2 percent. Is Fox just reporting for us to decide? Perhaps -- poll numbers fluctuate all the time -- but polls are so easy to manipulate, it makes you wonder how Rupert Murdoch's "fair and balanced" news channel came up with these numbers.

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Stephen W. Stromberg

Stephen W. Stromberg is a former editorial fellow at Salon.

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