NBC News Flogs Horse Race: President Up by 6 Points in Poll, But NBC Leads with Obama’s ‘Weak’ Favorable Rating, Even Though It Is 14 Points Higher Than Romney’s

One metric that never gets factored into presidential election prognostication is the degree to which the media manipulates facts in order to keep the race as close as possible. Folks like Chuck Todd, the top poll watcher at NBC, certainly have a motive to promote a tight race — imagine what their ratings would be if it were crystal clear now that the race was going to end in a rout in November.

“Romney would be the first GOP presumptive presidential nominee since 1996 to head into his nominating convention with a net-negative favorable/unfavorable score.”
– NBC News, burying the lede

The release of data from the new NBC Wall Street Journal poll this week is a case in point. The full results of the poll were embargoed until Tuesday, so on Monday, Todd and others at NBC teased the poll by releasing the most dire result for Pres. Obama they could find in the data. After weeks of bearing the brunt of Mitt Romney’s negative and spurious advertising, the president’s negatives were up a bit.

Whoah. That’s bad news, right. Well, on Tuesday, when the top line of the poll hit the news, it revealed that Obama leads Romney by 6 points, 49 percent to 43 percent. In 2008, Obama-Biden beat John McCain and Sarah Palin by 7.2 points (52.9 to 45.7 percent) that was considered a walloping. But in describing the president’s 6 point lead over Romney now, NBC said, “The horse race remains tight.”

Compared to what? In 2004, George Bush bested John Kerry by 2.4 points, 50.7 to 48.3 percent. In 2000, George Bush “won” over Al Gore with -0.5 percent of the vote, 47.9 to 48.4 percent.Those were close races. A 6 point lead 100 days out is not a slam dunk but only a media outlet with a horse in the race of its own, so to speak, would try to make it seem closer than it is.

On Morning Joe today, Todd tried to undercut his own poll even more by claiming — on the air — that the poll was weighted toward Democrats and that had it not been, the results would have been identical to the previous poll, which had the president up by 3 points, 47 to 44 percent.

Now, about those favorability numbers:

The president’s favorable/unfavorable score in the poll is 49 percent to 43 percent, a slight change from June when it was 47 percent to 38 percent.

Moreover, 33 percent view Obama very positively, while 32 percent view him very negatively — which is his highest “very negative” number in poll.

By comparison, Romney’s overall favorable/unfavorable score is 35 percent to 40 percent, with 24 percent viewing him “very” negatively – also his highest mark here.

In fact, Romney would be the first GOP presumptive presidential nominee since 1996 to head into his nominating convention with a net-negative favorable/unfavorable score.

In 1996, Bob Dole’s score was 39 percent to 36 percent; in 2000, George W. Bush’s was 52 percent to 32 percent; and in 2008, John McCain’s was 42 percent to 30 percent.

So the president’s favorable rating is 49 percent while Romney’s is 35 percent — a 14-point difference — but it’s the president’s 44 percent unfavorable rating that is NBC’s top headline out of the poll.

And Romney’s favorable rating has been in the upper 20s and low 30s in poll and after poll, as we have discussed here, here and here.

This is the sort of manipulation of the news we expect from Fox — with the difference being motive. Fox disseminates propaganda to boost the Republican Party. NBC News shapes its poll data to boost profits for its parent company, Comcast-Universal-NBC, which is in fourth place in network ratings.

One comment

  • October 12, 2012 - 12:20 pm | Permalink

    It’s BEEN a “Horse Race”…. Montana entered in September! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0SGOyP9KkU

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