Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Every few days, the once-respectable Rasmussen polling outfit issues a poll on some hot-button issue or other that depicts the United States as pro-GOP, anti-Democrat, and very, very different from the America portrayed in the work of literally every other major pollster in America. These polls are widely quoted, especially in the right-wing media and blogosphere. In addition, Rasmussen regularly produces a poll on President Obama's approval rating that always deviates from the results of other major polls by 10 to 30 points. That's the result when you disregard Rasmussen's dubious preference for ignoring moderate approvers and disapprovers, and add up all approvers and disapprovers; if you just look at the "strong approvers" and "strong disapprovers," as Rasmussen recommends, the Obama poll is even further to the right than all other polls -- which makes it seem provocative and newsworthy.

All this has done a tremendous job of raising Rasmussen's visibility and, I'm sure, drumming up business from right-leaning clients.

With all that going for them, why would the Rasmussen folks want to do polls that portrayed the same country every other pollster portrays? Even if those other pollsters are right and Rasmussen is wrong?

And really, that's the choice: Either Rasmussen is right and the Gallup, Pew, Fox/Opinion Dynamics, NBC/Wall Street Journal, Washington Post/ABC, CNN/Opinion Research, Diageo/Hotline, AP/GfK, Marist, Quinnipiac, Newsweek/Princeton Research, Ipsos/McClatchy, and NPR/Greenberg Quinlan Rosler polls are all wrong ... or the opposite is the case.

Yesterday, Rasmussen released this headline-grabbing poll:

Fifty-four percent (54%) of Americans oppose any further funding for the federal "cash for clunkers" program which encourages the owners of older cars to trade them in for newer, more fuel-efficient ones.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 33% of adults think Congress should authorize additional funding to keep the program going now that the original $950 million allocated for it has run out. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure....

Believe it? Well, if you do, you should note that apparently the Senate Republican leadership doesn't:

Republicans cave on 'clunkers,' ensuring Senate vote this week

The Senate will approve another $2 billion for the popular "cash for clunkers" program, probably by the end of the week, confident Democrats predicted Tuesday as Republican efforts to block the funding faded.

"We'll pass cash for clunkers. Before we leave here," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. "The vast majority will be voting for this," added Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. The Senate is scheduled to begin a month-long summer recess Friday.

Many Republicans, realizing that constituents and auto dealers were pushing hard to continue the program, reluctantly agreed.

"I don't get a sense anyone will block it," said Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.

... Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., reported "I'm hearing a lot of support for this." ...

You are, Senator Martinez? But Rasmussen told us a majority of the country hates this program! And only a third favor it!

If that were true, don't you think the GOP would be digging in its heels? Republicans aren't exactly shy about doing that, are they?

But they know it's a popular program. Which means they know Rasmussen's poll, like so many other Rasmussen polls, is an utter crock.

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