Fox News adopted GOP analysis of polling data to inflate President Obama's disapproval ratings among middle class voters. But while the graphic Fox & Friends aired cited a recent Politico poll as the source of its data, Fox's numbers came from a Republican analysis of the poll and not from the poll's actual data.
During today's broadcast of Fox & Friends, the show aired a graphic of new polling data that purported to show high disapproval numbers for Obama among middle-class voters across a series of crucial election issues such as the economy and Medicare:
Those numbers mirror numbers found in the "Republican Poll Analysis" of the Politico poll:
[M]iddle-class families also hold a majority disapproval rating on the job Obama is doing as president (45 percent approve, 54 percent disapprove), and turn even more negative toward Obama on specific areas; the economy 56 percent disapprove; spending 61 percent disapprove; taxes, 53 percent disapprove; Medicare 48 percent disapprove; and even foreign policy 50 percent disapprove.
The actual Politico poll numbers are several percentage points lower:
- 52% disapprove of Obama's economic policies
- 57% disapprove of the federal budget and spending
- 47% disapprove of tax policies
- 45% disapprove of Medicare policies
- 45% disapprove of foreign policy
The discrepancy between the poll's actual data and the Republican spin comes from the definition of the middle class. According to the results, 83 percent of those polled were defined as "middle class" by household income. Ed Goeas and Brian Nienaber, the authors of the Republican analysis, reweighted the poll results based on their estimate of the middle class as a percentage of the electorate, which yielded higher disapproval ratings.
The Fox & Friends co-hosts did not note the difference.