When last weekend's New York Times/CBS poll showed Bush's approval rating slipping to 50%, Andrew Sullivan declared that the books were cooked: He quoted "a seasoned Republican analyst" who said in an e-mail,
...in the CBS/NYT poll on Sunday, the party ID was 34 percent GOP and 47 percent Democratic. Is it any wonder the numbers were what they were? This is more evidence, in my judgment, why you shouldn't trust the NYT polls.
It's not clear where the "seasoned Republican analyst" got these numbers -- they didn't appear anywhere in the stories on the poll published by The Times and CBS -- but if "a seasoned Republican analyst" said it was so, that was good enough for Andy. He called for an investigation by the Times ombudsman.
Then Sullivan heard from Rich Meislin, the Times's editor for news surveys and election analysis. To his credit, Sully reprinted what Meislin had to say:
I'm not sure where your seasoned Republican analyst is getting his numbers, but they seem to be incorrect....
The latest NYT/CBS News poll, taken Jan. 12-15, has this party ID breakdown:
So Sully libeled the Times based on a GOP operative's lie.
Incidentally, Gallup has an instant poll today on the State of the Union address. Here's the headline:
Speech Watchers React Positively to Bush's Message
Want to know what the breakdown of poll respondents was?
The sample consists of 46% of respondents who identify themselves as Republicans, 26% who identify themselves as Democrats, and 28% who identify themselves as independents.
Nearly twice as many Republicans as Democrats. No comment on this from Sullivan.