Way to Bias a Poll, League of Conservation Voters

So here’s a public opinion survey from the League of Conservation Voters trumpeted in a news release, “New Poll Shows Strong Public Support in Midwest for EPA Setting New Standards to Limit Pollution, Opposition to Delay.”

Wow. Striking results. Too bad the LCV does not list any of the polling questions, even in the polling memo it posts from Geoff Garin at Hart Research Associates.

But judging from the topline results summarized by Garin, the survey tested public opinion about “carbon pollution.” IV, for example:

Regarding the potential impact of new standards on carbon pollution, voters are just as likely to believe new standards that limit carbon pollution will have a positive impact on jobs and the economy (33%) as those who think that new standards will have a negative impact on jobs and the economy (35%).

Carbon pollution? You mean carbon dioxide, the gas emitted by all living creatures? Because that’s what the EPA intends to regulate under the Clean Air Act. It’s good ol’ CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

You can bet that people who hear the term “carbon pollution” think smoke and soot and dirt. Those aren’t at issue this week in the Senate.

While never having studied statistics or polling, we used to report on politics and later worked on campaigns. We had a technical term for these kinds of opinion surveys, ones that purposely presented the public with misleading terminology and loaded questions. They’re called “crap.”

Join the discussion One Comment

  • crew says:

    OK Cool
    So whats the real skinny?
    Do most people support the republican congressional ban on epa regulating CO2 discharges? Or is it simply that the vast majority of financial support for republicans has this view and most voters don’t care very much?
    Some recent polls showed general “concern” about pollution:
    87% worry about the “pollution of rivers, lakes and reservoirs.”
    82% worry about “air pollution.”
    81% worry about “the loss of natural habitat for wildlife.”
    Obviously there’s a disconnect.

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