12/10/2005

Bush approval increases within the margin of error; media overstates gains ... again

Bush approval increases within the margin of error; media overstates gains ... again

On December 8, CNN mentioned a new CBS-New York Times poll showing a slight increase in President Bush's approval ratings no fewer than seven times: on American Morning (three times); Your World Today; Live From ... ; The Situation Room; and Lou Dobbs Tonight.

During the December 8 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs exclaimed:

[A] new opinion poll shows President Bush's approval rating has bounced back now from historic lows, and bounced back strongly. The main reason appears to be that voters are feeling more optimistic about the direction of the economy.

In fact, the CBS-New York Times poll showed a five-point increase in Bush's approval rating, all the way up to a still-anemic 40 percent. The increase is made even less impressive by the fact that the previous CBS-NYT poll was conducted more than a month ago, and (most importantly) by the fact that the increase was within the poll's margin of error. Still, CNN couldn't resist the effort to tout yet another purported Bush "rebound." Nor could NBC's Today, where host Matt Lauer made the increase sound as dramatic as possible: "up 5 points from just last month"; neither he nor Chris Matthews acknowledged that the increase was within the margin of error.

Media Matters - "Media Matters"; by Jamison Foser

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