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Fox News Ignores Own Poll to Claim Voters Happy with Bush on Iraq

Reported by Judy - June 16, 2006

Numbers may not lie, but when the numbers say something that Fox News doesn't like, it just ignores them. That was the case Friday (June 16, 2006) on "Dayside" when it came time to discuss the latest Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll.

The poll showed 40 percent of Americans approving of the job George Bush is doing, the first time since February that Bush's approval rating has been out of the 30s.

"Dayside" co-host Mike Jerrick introduced the poll discussion with Fox News reporter Julie Banderas by saying, "It has been a successful week for President Bush, no question about it, and the country is taking notice. The president's approval ratings are on the rise."

Banderas linked the uptick in Bush's approval numbers to the death of Al Zarqawi, the new government in Iraq, and Bush's sneak visit to that country, a place obviously still so dangerous he dare not go in announced or without protective gear (which the media has never published a photo of.)

But while Banderas and Jerrick were doing their best to make it seem like Bush's approval rating increased because of Iraq, Fox News' own poll told a different story. Asked whether they approve of the job Bush is doing on Iraq, only 37 percent said they approve and 58 percent disapproved. Rather than an increase, that figure is down from the 40 percent who approved in January.

Although Fox News chose to ignore Bush's low approval numbers on Iraq, the creator of another poll at least tried to explain why voters are unimpressed with recent events in Iraq. As the Rasmussen pollsters noted, voters are too smart to fall for the idea that a single event in Iraq portends major change in the situation there. They'd prefer to wait until the results show up militarily.

Here is what Rasmussen reported: "The President got absolutely no bounce from the al-Zarqawi news event. Thirty-one percent (31%) now give him good or excellent marks for handling the situation in Iraq. That’s down a point from 32% a week ago and is just one point above the lowest level ever recorded. Especially striking is the decline in confidence among the GOP faithful--just 57% of Republicans give the President good or excellent marks for his handling of Iraq.

"Overall, 46% of Americans say Bush is doing a poor job in Iraq. That’s unchanged from before al-Zarqawi was killed. Measures of the President’s overall Job Approval and of the nation’s economic confidence confirm the lack of any upward move in the President’s ratings.

"Forty-seven percent (47%) now believe the situation in Iraq will be seen as a failure in the long run. Just 35% believe it will be seen as a success. Those figures are essentially unchanged over the past week.

"Thirty percent (30%) of Americans believe things will get better in Iraq over the next six months while 47% believe they will get worse. A week ago, those figures were 31% and 50% respectively."

Fox News, of course, could not risk getting a phone call from Tony Snow by saying anything like that. Instead, it just ignored the numbers in its own poll that showed voters still negative on Bush's job in Iraq and conducted a "poll" of another kind. Jerrick turned to the audience and asked them how many AGREED that Al Zarqawi's death will make a difference in Iraq. He found a man who said it would because "he's the moral leader ... They have no moral leader now … This is a major blow.”

To believe that, one has to believe that Al Qaeda is behind the entire insurgency in Iraq, rather than only a small part of it.

Banderas and Jerrick did the same thing with the results of a question on whether the U.S. is safer now -- a majority in the poll said it won't, but Jerrick found somebody in the audience to say it would.

Banderas also omitted part of the results on a key question in the poll on which party voters plan to vote for in November. Democrats were the choice over Republicans by a 46 percent to 33 percent margin. Banderas added that "only 36 percent actually believe that their life would change a lot if Democrats win control in November.”

In reality, another 30 percent say their lives would change at least somewhat, making for a whopping 66 percent who believe changing control of Congress would make a difference in their lives.

Why does Fox News bothers to ask these questions in its polls and then ignore the results? Why pay for something and not use it? Especially if you are in the "news" business rather than the propaganda business.

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