Media Blog

Polls, Immigration and the Media

One thing I hate about the media is how they take a poll, any poll, and report it as fact. It’s especially bad when the media outlet publishes the findings of the poll, but doesn’t link to the actual text of the questions, provide information about the sample, or otherwise give the reader a way to check the history or track record of the polling outfit.

But what happens when it’s not the media but the White House that’s putting the poll out there and doing all of those things that send media critics into a lather? 
Here’s one of the immigration-bill myths that the White House says doesn’t check out and the poll they’re using to fact-check it:

5. MYTH: A Rasmussen poll shows Americans support an enforcement-only approach.

  • FACT: The plan proposed in Rasmussen’s poll does not include many of the components included in the actual plan. Rasmussen asked respondents: “A different proposal has been made that also includes a fence along the Mexican border, more border patrol agents, strict penalties on anyone who hires illegal aliens. This proposal, however, would also offer illegal aliens a path to citizenship if they pay back taxes and other fines. Would you favor or oppose this proposal?”
  • FACT: The process is much more onerous than the text of Rasmussen’s question suggests. In order to have an opportunity for citizenship, undocumented workers will have to pay a total of $5,000 in fines, pass multiple background checks, complete accelerated English and civics requirements, go back home to apply in their home country, demonstrate merit in the new merit-based green card system, AND go to the back of the line behind those who applied lawfully.
  • FACT: A recent bi-partisan poll conducted by The Tarrance Group (R) and Lake Research (D) that did include more components of the plan found 75 percent of American voters said they would favor a plan that: provides resources to greatly increase border security; imposes much tougher penalties on employers who hire illegal workers; allows additional foreign workers to come to the U.S. to work for a temporary period; creates a system in which illegal immigrants could come forward and register, pay a fine, and receive a temporary work permit; and provides these temporary workers with a multi-year path to earned citizenship, if they get to the end of the line and meet certain requirements like living crime free, learning English, and paying taxes. Only 17 percent opposed this plan.

I’ve Googled around and can’t find the Tarrance/Lake Research poll to which they’re referring. Lake Research, however, is a familiar name to any Sixers reader. Here’s just one instance where a bipartisan poll, with Lake as the Democratic half, produced results that are less than believable. Rasmussen, to his credit, gives you all the vital information you need on his immigration poll and provides links to his historic polling on the issue.
As for Rasmussen, here are his near perfect calls on the 2006 elections. If Tarrance/Lake think they have a better poll than Rasmussen, then lets see it.

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