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Third Way’s Highly Deceptive Polling on Social Security and Medicare

Jonathan Cowan

Jonathan Cowan, President of Third Way

Apparently when all the non-partisan public polling shows your position is unpopular, what you do is commission your own poll based on some highly deceptive questions. Third Way, the Wall Street-funded think tank,  has released a poll of “Obama voters” which they are claiming shows support for a grand bargain. If you look at the actually survey questions, however, it is clear they don’t pass the laugh test.

Their memo claims, “An overwhelming 89% of the Obama Coalition believes these programs are in financial trouble—with 53% saying Social Security and Medicare have major problems, 36% identifying minor problems, and only 6% saying they have no problems.”

But let’s look at their actual poll language:

Q59. Some say Social Security and Medicare are in financial trouble. In your view, do Social Security and Medicare have major financial problems, minor financial problems, or no financial problems? (emphasis mine)

You do not conduct a legitimate poll by stating the answer you want to get before asking the question.

I’m sure if I worded a survey question as, “Some say the President of the Third Way has committed fraud. In your view, do you think the President of the Third Way has committed fraud?” That poll would probably find a shocking number of people think the President of the Third Way committed fraud, but that is not an accurate picture of what regular voters think. If you want to honestly find out what regular votes think you don’t feed them the answers you want first.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is now living in the Washington DC area. He created a politics and policy blog, The Walker Report (