Limbaugh Hates Polls (That Don't Confirm His Worldview)

Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

Rush Limbaugh spent a good deal of today's radio show railing against polls from The New York Times and Public Policy Polling. Why? Because they disagree with his right-wing worldview.

Attacking the Times poll -- which found that "a majority of Americans say they oppose efforts to weaken the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions and are also against cutting the pay or benefits of public workers to reduce state budget deficits" -- Limbaugh declared that the poll was invalid because the poll sample contained more people with union or public-sector workers in their household than allegedly exist nationwide.

Limbaugh claimed that the PPP poll -- which found that Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker would lose a rematch with his Democratic opponent if the election were held today -- was flawed as well, insisting the sample was "skewed to get the result that it wants" (which he later explained had to do with the poll sample including a large amount of independent voters). He added that this means that "Democrats are losing" and that "public opinion is actually against them, and they're now having to take drastic action and go to heretofore unseen lengths to start fabricating news in the form of flawed poll results." Limbaugh then huffed that "polls today are used to shape public opinion, not reflect it, pure and simple."

Limbaugh also served up the question he wanted pollsters to ask: "Do you agree to pay higher taxes so that state government employees can have higher pay -- twice what yours is -- more time off, better health care benefits, better retirement plan than you will ever get?" Nah, nothing biased about that question. (Plus, he's wrong about state government employees making twice as much as private-sector workers.)

So, Limbaugh has clearly established that media polls exist only to advance an agenda -- which makes his uncritical embrace of certain other polls utterly disingenuous.

Later in his show, Limbaugh touted a poll at The Hill finding that more people would blame Democrats than Republicans if there is a government shutdown, declaring that it "shocked the people at The Hill." Then, he promoted a Rasmussen Reports poll saying that 58 percent of Americans favor a government shutdown until budget cuts are agreed upon, pronouncing it "a huge see-I-told-you-so."

Missing from Limbaugh's uncritical discussion of these polls: any mention of his previous statement that polls advance an agenda or of skewed sample sizes. Why? Because these polls confirm Limbaugh's agenda. He's certainly not going to waste any precious airtime discussing the conservative bias inherent in Rasmussen polls or the apparently skewed questions in the Rasmussen poll he was touting.

The hypocrisy Limbaugh displays here is ridiculously blatant. Is it too much to ask for Limbaugh to display some consistency within a single show? It appears so.

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