Scott Rasmussen ran a couple of surveys to illustrate the importance of how poll questions are framed. The results make that point quite effectively, but are also interesting in their own right.
Rasmussen surveyed likely voters with respect to two pundits, Paul Krugman and John Fund. He found, not surprisingly, that neither is well known to the general public. Krugman scores exactly even, 22 percent favorable and 22 percent unfavorable, with 55 percent knowing nothing about him. Of those who know who Krugman is, 4 percent view him “very favorably” and 6 percent “very unfavorably.” Fund is even less well known; his favorables/unfavorables are 12/22. (My guess is that most of those 22 percent either had Fund confused with someone else or were just reacting to the sound of his name.)
Here’s the interesting part: in a separate survey, when Krugman was identified as “New York Times columnist Paul Krugman,” his numbers plummeted to 25 percent favorable and 37 percent unfavorable. Moreover, his “very unfavorable” percentage more than tripled to 20 percent. On the other hand, when Fund was identified as a Wall Street Journal columnist, the opposite happened: his favorable/unfavorable percentages flipped to 34/20. All of which suggests that the public has pretty well caught on to the Times, which, as Rasmussen notes, was viewed favorably by only 24 percent in a 2008 survey.
The linked article also reveals that Alice Cooper is a Republican. Who knew? Interestingly, when that fact is disclosed in a survey question, it causes Democrats to dislike him while barely budging his numbers among Republicans. Maybe that helps explain why Republicans in show business tend to keep their politics to themselves.
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