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The Times Buries Unfavorable Obama Poll


As Kate noted last night, the most recent New York Times/CBS poll on the presidential race has a number of notable findings: The vast majority of voters think his same-sex-marriage announcement was politically motivated, and he’s trailing Mitt Romney by two points among women. But you might have a hard time finding them featured prominently: Though the poll receives an A1 billing in the national edition, the story is below the fold on the 17th page of today’s New York edition.

The Times’s previous four monthly polls this year have all received A1 billings in the New York edition, and usually an A17 article, too (on the second page of their inside “National” section). Surely the Times should give better placement to Americans’ opinion of our president, as their editorial board put it, “[taking] the moral high ground on what may be the great civil rights struggle of our time”?

Further, one should never make too much of a single poll, but one finding was truly surprising and doesn’t receive any mention at all: Romney leads Obama among women, 46 to 44, erasing the somewhat substantial gender gap from April’s equivalent poll (Obama 49, Romney 43), and overall, leads the president 46 points to 43.

In their 19-paragraph, 1,129-word analysis, the Times doesn’t deign to mention the female cross-tab number.

#more#As some commentators have pointed out, if Romney were actually to tie Barack Obama among women in the general election, he would almost definitely win. Even considering a substantial margin of error for this large subgroup, Romney is running extremely close among women, but this apparently isn’t at all worthy of mention.

Despite the fact that this poll also finds that (by a 25 to 16 percent margin) his support of same-sex marriage makes voters less likely to vote for him, the piece is entitled, “New Poll Finds Voters Dubious of Obama’s Announcement on Same-Sex Marriage,” noting that voters overwhelmingly think that Obama’s decision was motivated by politics — but how newsworthy is that? Would any other conclusion be reasonable?

Notably, also, in his “Playbook” e-mail’s summary of the poll this morning, Politico’s Mike Allen also essentially ignores all of the above findings, again emphasizing the assumed political motivations for Obama’s move, and not even providing the 25–16 number for support/oppose.

The Obama campaign, meanwhile, realized the findings of the poll were significant enough to dispute the results, saying it used a “biased sample” (despite the fact that there were more Democrats than Republicans surveyed, and the poll’s registered, as opposed to likely, voter sample tends to be more favorable to Democrats).


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