Thursday, June 13, 2013

Guardian poll reporter: Its working!

Harry Enten reports on polling for the US edition of the Guardian. Here's his headline today: Polls show Obama's real worry: NSA leaks erode trust in government. After summarizing some polling numbers, he says this:
When the IRS and Associated Press scandals first broke, I pointed out that the one factor that predicts election results better than consumer sentiment is trust in government.
I'm going to stop right there for a moment because Enten left out an important point. Of course we all know that "trust in government" predicts election favor of Republicans! And so, he goes on to point out how these faux scandals are affecting that.
Trust in government after these scandals has been falling. In the recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 55% of Americans said the IRS targeting made them doubt the "overall honesty and integrity" of the Obama administration. Only 48% of voters in Fox News poll taken after the release of the NSA information said Obama was "honest and trustworthy" – the lowest level the poll ever recorded. More than a third (35%) of voters believe the administration has been less open than previous administrations – a record high.

In light of the public's negative reaction to the NSA leaks, trust in government could fall further.
So low information voters hear screaming headlines about the IRS targeting you and NSA spying on you. But as the details roll out to either discredit these headlines or suggest that things are more complex than that, major media gets bored and cable news spins. That's the reality into which Snowden dropped his leaks - complete with all the hysteria and obfuscation Greenwald could muster. Enten is suggesting that the outcome is a Libertarian/Republican dream come true.

Are we gonna sit back and let that happen?


  1. It looks like pretty lazy analysis on Eten's part to me. What does asking voters if they have "trust in government" even mean? It sounds a lot like asking if you approve of the job the government/President is doing. Hence why low trust in government is good at predicting election results, approval/disapproval is good at predicting election results!

    A fun experiment to do would be to do a poll asking how voters feel about a non-existent scandal you tie to the Obama administration (just call it something like the FDA scandal or the FCC scandal). I bet people who don't approve of the president would say that this shows he's "less honest and trustworthy" and folks who do approve would say it doesn't. Some political scientists have done similar things asking about the approval of non-existing laws and when they tie them to a President, boom people pick their partisan sides.

  2. Voter amnesia. Silly season. Unless the GOP have a bunch of scandals cued up for the whole summer and can find a way to keep from bungling every one of them, I'm not worried. Their timing sucks. If this were happening in October, then I'd be concerned.


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