UPDATED: Fox Reverses Poll Results To Falsely Claim Most Americans Favor Ending Collective Bargaining

On Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed, along with an on-screen graphic, that a recent USA Today/Gallup poll found that “61 percent” of Americans are in favor of taking away collective bargaining rights from public unions. In fact, Fox aired the results of the poll completely backward: the Gallup poll found that 61 percent of Americans are opposed to taking away collective bargaining rights.

Fox Airs Backward Graphic To Falsely Claim “61 Percent” Of Americans “In Favor Of Taking [Bargaining Rights] Away”

Kilmeade: According To USA Today/Gallup Poll, “61 Percent In Favor Of Taking [Bargaining Rights] Away.” On the February 23 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade brought on a panel of guests to discuss the ongoing protests in Wisconsin, sparked by Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to cut benefits and eliminate most collective bargaining rights for some public employees. While talking to Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman, Kilmeade discussed the results of a recent USA Today/Gallup poll to falsely claim that “61 percent” of those polled are “in favor of taking [collective bargaining rights] away.” From the broadcast:

KILMEADE: Wow. But is President Obama out of step with history? Joining us now to debate it, knock it around just a little bit, Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman and Jim Glassman, Director of the Bush Center and author of the book Safety Net. First things first, Robert, do you think the president is taking a big risk here?

ZIMMERMAN: Not at all. I think he's showing respect for history and respect for our history of supporting the rights and safety of workers, but more than that, he's speaking for the mainstream of our country and the main stream of Republican governors that are not siding with Governor Walker in his efforts to overturn right to work -- collective bargaining.

KILMEADE: I think Gallup, a relatively mainstream poll, has a differing view. And here is the question that was posed, should you take away--will you favor or are you in disfavor of taking away collective bargaining when it comes to salaries for government workers? Sixty-one percent in favor of taking it away. Thirty-three percent oppose. Six percent up in the air. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/23/11]

A graphic claiming that “61 percent” responded “favor” to the question “Collective bargaining -- take it away: favor or oppose?” was aired on-screen during the segment:


In Fact, USA Today/Gallup Poll Results Showed “61% Would Oppose A Law Similar To [The] Proposal In Wisconsin”

USA Today/Gallup: “61% Would Oppose A Law In Their State Similar To [The] Proposal In Wisconsin.” In a poll conducted on February 21, USA Today and Gallup found that 61 percent of those polled would oppose a law similar to the one Gov. Walker is proposing in Wisconsin. From the article accompanying the poll results (emphasis added):

Americans strongly oppose laws taking away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll. The poll found 61% would oppose a law in their state similar to such a proposal in Wisconsin, compared with 33% who would favor such a law.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Republican legislators in Wisconsin have proposed cutting union rights for most state government workers and making them pay more for benefits. Ohio, New Jersey, Indiana, Iowa and other states with Republican governors are considering similar laws. [USA Today, 2/22/11]

The article included the following graphic:


UPDATE: Kilmeade issued a correction during the final minute of Fox & Friends -- 44 minutes after the error -- saying: “I want to correct a poll that we did about 22 minutes ago from Gallup. Sixty-one percent oppose taking collective bargaining away from those people in Wisconsin; 33 percent in favor. I had it reversed. I apologize.” In fact, the poll asked if people would oppose a similar law in their own states. A graphic was aired correctly showing that 61 percent of those polled oppose taking collective bargaining away:

Gallup Poll correction