Was Rasmussen trying to be disingenuous?

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Rasmussen was out of the gate early in terms of national polling numbers regarding the unfolding Blago story and after reading Rasmussen's summary the only question we have is this: Was the polling firm trying to mislead people? Because the survey, and the Rasmussen write-up about the results, are pretty much a disaster.

First the poll findings:

Forty five percent (45%) of U.S. voters say it is likely President-elect Obama or one of his top campaign aides was involved in the unfolding Blagojevich scandal in Illinois, including 23% who say it is Very Likely.

The problem here is glaringly obvious: The Blago question asked to voters was utterly pointless. Polls are supposed to help us understand where Americans stand on the issues of the day. But that's pretty hard to do when pollster like Rassmussen ask completely worthless questions.

i.e. What does it mean to suggest Obama or one of his top campaign aides "was involved" in the Blago story? If a pollster called me at home over the weekend and asked me that question I could see possibly answering 'Yes' they were technically "involved" because obviously it's Obama's former U.S. senate seat that Blago was trying to auction off. And yes, Obama aides were in touch with Blago about filling the seat, as any campaign would. So I guess they were "involved," not unlike the way special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is "involved" in the story.

But reporting the results, Rasmussen assumed the worst and suggested everyone who answered yes that Obama or his aides might be "involved" in the scandal meant they did something wrong. But that's not what Rasmussen asked. Rasmussen asked a pointless question about who might have been "involved."

If Rassmussen wanted to find out if people thought Obama or his aides helped Blago try to sell a U.S. senate seat and/or broke the law, than why didn't Rassmussen just ask people that very simple, straight forward question? Instead, Rasmussen posed a completely vague and meaningless question about who was "involved," and that's why the results are utterly pointless.

As for the Rasmussen write-up about the poll findings, it was just was useless [emphasis added]:

Up until now, no one in a position of authority is saying that Obama or anyone on his staff is guilty of wrongdoing.

Good grief that's bad. First, last time we checked it would a judge and jury to decide if "Obama or anyone on his staff is guilty of wrongdoing," not somebody in "a position of authority."

And second, prosecutors have been quite clear that neither Obama nor his top aide are even being investigated for wrongdoing, so why on earth is Rasmussen daydreaming about finding them guilty?

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