USA Today Should Correct Its Blatant Errors About Clinton, Sanders, And Biden

USA Today botched a poll graphic about the top descriptions “likely Democratic primary voters” used about current and potential Democratic presidential candidates, which purportedly included “Liar/Dishonest,” “Unfavorable/Dislike,” and “Idiot/Joke.” The paper misread its own poll: those top descriptions included Republican respondents, and Democrats infrequently responded with those terms.

UPDATE: USA Today corrected the sourcing of the top descriptions of the declared and possible Democratic candidates, showing that they were the result of 1,000 “general election voters,” not 430 “likely Democratic primary voters.” The article now has a note appended, and the paper listed the correction in a separate “corrections and clarifications” page. [USA Today, accessed 10/5/1510/5/15

USA Today Falsehood: The Top Description Of Clinton By “Likely Democratic Primary Voters” Is “Liar, Dishonest”

USA Today Claimed The Top Descriptions Of Hillary Clinton By “Likely Democratic Primary Voters” Were “Liar, Dishonest” And “Untrustworthy, Fake.” In an October 1 piece about its recent presidential polling, USA Today ran a graphic claiming that the top description used to describe Hillary Clinton was “liar, dishonest.” The second top response was supposedly “untrustworthy, fake.” The graphic sourced these responses to “USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll of 430 likely Democratic primary voters, taken Sept. 24-28.”


[USA Today10/1/15]

USA Today Error Was Published In Print Edition And Online. The polling errors about the candidates were reproduced in the October 2 print edition of USA Today, according to a digital reproduction posted on

[USA Today, 10/2/15, via

Negative Clinton Responses Came Primarily From Republicans, Not Democrats

Only 3 Percent Of Democratic Voters Described Clinton As “Liar/Dishonest.” The complete tables for the USA Today/Suffolk poll showed that only 15 out of 430 poll respondents (3 percent) who said they were likely to vote in the Democratic primary described Clinton as “Liar/Dishonest.” By contrast, 90 out of 380 Republican respondents (24 percent) described Clinton as “Liar/Dishonest.” Further, just 12 out of 430 respondents (3 percent) likely to vote in the Democratic primary described Clinton as “Untrustworthy/Fake.” Both negative descriptions were not in the top five of Democratic responses. The USA Today errors were noted by Democratic consultants and Clinton supporters Peter Daou and Tom Watson. From the poll:

[, accessed 10/2/15;, 10/2/15]

The Top Description Of Clinton By Democratic Voters Was “Smart/Intelligent/Knowledgeable.” In contrast to the USA Today graphic, the top description of Clinton by likely Democratic primary voters was “Smart/Intelligent/Knowledgeable,” with 15 percent of respondents. The second most-used description was “Nice/Okay/Excellent/Good.” [, accessed 10/2/15]

USA Today Botches Democratic Descriptions Of Bernie Sanders

USA Today: Top Descriptions Of Sanders Included “Unfavorable, Dislike.” The USA Today graphic also claimed that the top description of Sanders by “430 likely Democratic primary voters” was “socialist” with the fourth most frequent “unfavorable, dislike”:  


Actual Data: Top Response Was “Favorable/Like/Good”; “Unfavorable/Dislike” Was Infrequently Used. The data for the USA Today/Suffolk poll showed that likely Democratic primary voters' top description was “Favorable/Like/Good” with 27 responses (6 percent). The second most common response was “Intelligent/Knowledgeable” with 22 responses (5 percent). Socialist was third most common with 21 responses (5 percent). “Unfavorable/Dislike” was used by just 8 respondents (2 percent) and was not in the top five descriptions.


[, accessed 10/2/15]

USA Today Whopper: Third Most Frequently Used Description By Democrats Of Biden Was “Idiot, Joke”

USA Today: Third Most Frequently Used Democratic Description Of Biden Was “Idiot, Joke.” USA Today claimed that the third most frequently used description of Vice President Joe Biden by “likely Democratic primary voters” was “idiot, joke.”

Polling Data: Only One Percent of Democratic Respondents Called Biden An “Idiot/Joke/Ass.” Only 4 out of 430 likely Democratic primary voter respondents described Biden as an “Idiot/Joke/Ass,” and it was not in the top five descriptions for Biden by Democrats. 9 percent of Republican primary voters characterized Biden as such.


[, accessed 10/2/15]