WSJ's Fred Barnes ignores polling really, really well

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Writing opinion pieces for Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal must be the easiest assignment in journalism, mostly because it appears that editors make no requirements that conservative writers back up their claims. Better yet for scribes, they allow writers to make claims that are not only profoundly false, but provably false.

The latest example of his lazy trend comes courtesy of Fred Barnes today, who insists it's not the economy that voters are most upset about.

Barnes [emphasis added]:

A funny thing happened on the way to the midterm election. The economy was in bad shape, with high unemployment, slow growth and a lingering housing crisis. Yet it wasn't the paramount issue in the campaign.

Of course, virtually all the polling data published to date makes clear that Barnes has it exactly backwards and that concerns over the economy have been far and away the number one issue among voters.


A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday also indicates that the economy remains, by far, the top issue on the minds of Americans. Fifty-two percent of people questioned say the economy's the most important issue facing the country.

Does anyone in America, besides Fred Barnes, think the economy hasn't been the top issues on the minds of Americans this elections season? Apparently the only other people who believe that are the ones who publish the WSJ's opinion page.

Barnes goes on to stress how it was health care reform, not the economy, that doomed Democrats and is driving voters away this election season.

Again, polling results completely undermine Barnes' claim:

According to a recent monthly Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, healthcare reform isn't drawing voters to the upcoming November Congressional elections.

Voters asked to name the most important issue contributing to how they will vote listed the economy first, followed by dissatisfaction with government. Healthcare reform came in third.

Specifically, the top two issues are the economy (surprise!) and dissatisfaction with the government and were selected as priorities among 45 percent of voters. Just 13 percent picked health care reform.

But shhh, don't tell Barnes and the team at the WSJ.

Wall Street Journal
Fred Barnes
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