Tim Graham doesn't understand polls. Or colors.

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Over at Newsbusters, MRC's Tim Graham complains that a Washington Post graphic illustrating the public's lack of confidence in members of congress combines respondents saying they had "just some" confidence with those saying they had "none":

WaPo Insists GOP Lacks Confidence of 72 Percent; But 43 Percent Said They Had 'Some'

But if the Post reader skipped the gray text and went just for the graphics, they'd get the impression that Republicans are worse off than the Democrats: they'd see asked "how much confidence do you have" in the parties, they showed Obama's "lack faith" number at 58 percent, Democrats in Congress at 68 percent, and Republicans at 72 percent.

But wait: in parentheses it says "percent of voters saying 'just some' or 'none'". (That wasn't bolded in the paper, as it is on the website.) Here's the rub: deep in the Post's data (question 3), it shows Republicans "just some" number was 43 percent and "none" was 29 percent, while Democrats "just some" number was 35 percent and "none" was 32 percent. So portraying the Republican standing as "worse" than the Democrats (complete with trouble-red emphasis) is misleading at best.

Graham didn't mention that 12 percent have a "great deal" of confidence in Democrats in Congress and another 20 percent have a "good amount" -- while only 8 percent have a great deal of confidence in Republicans in Congress and 18 percent more have a good amount. That carefully-omitted fact undermines Graham's claim that it is "misleading at best" to portray "the Republican standing as 'worse' than the Democrats.

Finally, Graham whines that the Post printed the Republicans' graphic in "trouble-red emphasis." Here's the chart in question:

Notice that the Democratic graphic is blue and the Republican graphic is red? Tim Graham thinks that's meant to emphasize the "trouble" the GOP is in. Can you think of any other, perfectly innocuous, reason why the Democratic graphic might be blue, and the Republican graphic red?

I'm sure you can.

But maybe that's a little too subtle for Tim Graham. Here's a more graphic reminder that the GOP associates itself with the color red, courtesy of the RNC's current web page:

Tim Graham
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