Friday, April 03, 2009


Over the years, quite a few of us have noted the loaded wording in Fox News poll questions. In a Fox poll, the lead questions tend to be plain vanilla and unobjectionable -- and then, deep into the poll, you get questions such as

Have you heard any of your friends and neighbors say there is something about Barack Obama that scares them?


Do you think asking the wealthiest Americans to pay more in taxes is a good idea because it levels the economic and social playing field, or a bad idea because it punishes work and success?

So what GOP talking points is Fox testing in its latest poll?

Let's go to the PDF. We'll start with my favorite:

Which one of the following do you think Barack Obama wants to happen?
SCALE: 1. He wants the financial crisis to continue so government can take over more businesses and grow the federal government. 2. He wants the financial crisis to end so private businesses can succeed and get stronger without government assistance. 3. (Neither of those) 4. (Don't know)

Wow. The good news is that 68% of Americans think he actually wants the crisis to end, as opposed to 23% who think he wants it to continue. The bad news is that a plurality of Republicans (44%-43%) think he wants to prolong the pain to advance his sinister government-growing aims.

What else? Well, there's this one, which seems unobjectionable enough:

Do you think the federal government should increase taxes on the wealthiest individuals

... No, wait, that's not the whole question:

Do you think the federal government should increase taxes on the wealthiest individuals so that nobody gets to be too rich?

With those last few words, Fox gets the "No" it wants, 55%-40%.

What else? Er, this:

Which of the following descriptions do you think better describes the threat from terrorist attacks -- the word "terrorism" or the phrase "man-caused disasters"?

I told you about this one. "Terrorism" is much preferred by the poll respondents.

Do you think the United Nations should be in charge of the worldwide effort to combat climate change and the United States should report to the United Nations on this effort, or should it be up to individual countries and the United States would be allowed to make decisions on its own?

Oy. Yes, "individual countries" wins this one.

But not every question pushes the buttons Fox wants pushed:

Do you think Barack Obama is on television too much, about the right amount or is Obama not on television often enough? ("About right" wins.)

Do you think Barack Obama uses a teleprompter too often? ("No" wins, except among Republicans.)

Do you approve or disapprove of part of the White House grounds being dug up for a new, organic vegetable garden? (Even a majority of Republicans like the garden.)

Keep your eye on Fox's polls -- they're going to get even crazier.

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