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Fudging the Poll Numbers

Reported by Judy - August 2, 2004 -

Fox and Friends today (August 2) played fast and loose with poll numbers again, with E.D. Hill stressing one poll that showed John Kerry's numbers dropping while ignoring two that showed his position vis a vis Bush strengthening.

Fox and Friends' co-hosts went through three polls, all taken last week during or after the Democratic National Convention, in a segment during the second hour of their show (8:10 a.m. EDT).

The Gallup poll showed Bush 50 percent, Kerry 46 percent after the convention, compared to Bush 46 percent, Kerry 47 percent, before the convention. The Newsweek poll had Kerry 49 percent, Bush 42 percent after the convention, compared to Kerry 47 percent and Bush 44 percent before the conve3ntion. The Zogby poll showed Kerry at 48 percent and Bush 43 percent, compared to Kerry 48 percent and Bush 46 percent before the convention.

Hill said that "Kerry dropped" and that "people are kind of shocked" by that. Kerry actually rose in one of the polls and expanded his lead over Bush in the other poll as voters moved away from Bush into the undecided column.
Again (8:25 a.m. EDT), in an interview with Rep. Harold Ford Jr., D-Tennessee, Hill said that "the national numbers do show Kerry-Edwards' poll numbers dropped." Doocy returned to a favorite Fox topic -- "What happened to the bounce?"

Ford noted that the presidential race "is really 50 local races" and that on a state-by-state basis, numbers look good for Kerry. Two states- Tennessee and Virginia -- have now been added to the swing state list by the Kerry campaign, he said, indicating that Kerry is gaining strength there.

Fox presented all three polls' numbers correctly, but went through them so quickly that anyone who had yet to have their first cup of coffee or was fixing breakfast for a wailing toddler may have had trouble picking up on them. Hill's statements that Kerry's numbers dropped, repeated twice, were more likely to come through.

Fox has been setting up this story line for weeks. On July 6, (see "DON'T Believe it" post) Fox was promoting the GOP line that Kerry should get a 15 to 20 point bounce after picking his running mate. This is a theme they are unlikely to give up on anytime soon.