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Frank Luntz’ Bogus Focus Group Make Up

Reported by Ellen - February 27, 2010 -

Pollster and Fox News contributor Frank Luntz pulled a fast one on Hannity Thursday (2/25/10), when he appeared with his focus group to provide what purported to be public reaction to the health care summit earlier that day. Luntz announced that his participants “split even between Obama and McCain,” suggesting that he had put together a fair, representative sample of Americans. But he had not. Americans voted for Obama by 53% as opposed to 46% for McCain, not 50/50. Luntz later revealed that his group was not really “split even” but consisted of 13 McCain voters and 11 Obama voters, skewing the sample even further to make it 54% McCain voters/46% Obama voters, almost a reversal of the actual results. I also found Luntz’ language (and he’s an expert in words) suspect in that he repeatedly described them as Obama voters and McCain voters as opposed to Democrats and Republicans. That immediately made me suspect he might have counted some Obama-voting Republicans as balance for the McCain voters, even though near the end of the segment, at about the 5:20 mark, Luntz exclaimed that the group was “half Republicans, half Democrats" (which, by his own admission, it was not). My suspicions were further aroused from the comments Luntz elicited which included lots of GOP talking points and little, if any, affinity for Democrats or President Obama. With video.

If Sean Hannity noticed the bogus sample, he kept quiet about it. “We want to hear directly from the American people,” he announced at the beginning of the segment. “Joining me live… with a focus group of Republicans, Democrats Independents is pollster… Frank Luntz.”