How not to report on polling

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER headline: "Poll: Most Undecided About Sotomayor."

And the lede: "Senate confirmation hearings begin today for Sonia Sotomayor, but just four in ten Americans have an opinion of the nominee, a new CBS News poll finds."

And the beginning of the third paragraph: "But what could be most significant is that 62 percent of Americans still are undecided or say they haven't heard enough about her yet to make a judgment."

Wow, it sounds like a really big deal that most people are undecided about Sotomayor, doesn't it? But wait:

That is not unusual for a Supreme Court nominee just prior to his or her confirmation hearings and majorities could not assess previous nominees before their hearings either in CBS News polling.

In fact, somewhat more people have opinions of Sotomayor now than had opinions of past nominees before their hearings.

Oh. Never mind...

Note, by the way, that the never gives the actual percentage of people who could not assess previous nominees before their hearings.

Supreme Court Nominations, Sotomayor Nomination
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