U.S. News: “Poll: Americans, 2-1, Fear Obama’s Re-election”…..well, not at all, actually.

I was listening to the radio this morning (Dennis and Callahan) and one of the callers to the show mentioned a U.S. News poll that found that American’s biggest fear in 2012, by a 2-1 margin, was the re-election of Barack Obama.  Now, if you’re calling into a sports radio show, I’m not going to trust you;  if you’re calling in to a sport radio show to talk about politics with Dennis and Callahan, I trust you even less.  And I didn’t trust this guy’s “statistic” that nearly two-thirds of those polled were fearful of Obama being re-elected.

So when I got to work this morning, I looked up this poll.  The article I believe the caller was referring to is this one by Paul Bedard complete with the headline “Poll: Americans, 2-1, Fear Obama’s Reelection”.  The poll results cited in the article are as follows:

As we enter the presidential election year of 2012, what potential news event do you fear the most?

President Obama wins reelection 33%

Taxes will increase 31%

Iran will get a nuclear weapon 16%

Obama will lose reelection 16%

North Korea will attack South Korea 4%

I don’t know who looks at the results of this poll and takes away the headline “Americans, 2-1, Fear Obama’s Reelection”.  That headline implies (intentionally?) that the question that was asked in the poll was “Do you fear Obama’s re-election” when, in fact, the question asked was “As we enter the presidential election year of 2012, what potential news event do you fear the most?”

These are entirely different questions and to draw the conclusion that “Americans, 2-1, Fear Obama’s Reelection” is, at best, unintentionally misleading.  You could say “Americans, 2-1, cite Obama’s re-election as their number one fear,” but that is an entirely different statement.  If you really want to know how many American’s fear Obama’s re-election, you need to ask that question in a well sampled poll, which this may or may not have been.

Regardless, there is no way to look at the results of this pool and honestly draw the conclusion that “Americans, 2-1, Fear Obama’s Reelection”.   This is either a misunderstanding leading to a misleading headline or intentionally dishonest.

PS Regardless of your politics, how can anymore be more fearful of the 2012 presidential outcome or your taxes going up than of Iran getting a nuclear weapon.  Maybe you’re annoyed or bothered that your taxes will go up, but do you fear an increase in taxes?  Iran getting a nuclear weapon is more than just an annoyance or a bother.


Posted on January 24, 2012, in Politics, Surveys. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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