The following is an excerpt from my news analysis at The Hill.
Ever since his inauguration, President Trump’s political opponents have been pushing to impeach him. They just hadn’t found the right excuse. In other words, they knew where they wanted to end up but they just hadn’t found the right vehicle to drive them down the road.
With the fuss over Ukraine, they may have found their vehicle, according to new polls.
Or have they?
The latest CBS News poll headlined the findings that “Majority of Americans favor an impeachment inquiry into President Trump,” 55 percent to 45 percent.
But what if there’s more than meets the eye? Like many polls, there is plenty of fodder within the CBS News poll results to support either side. The trick is who does the reporting and which points they select to highlight.
What if it turns out there are many other headlines — and statistics — that could have been chosen from the same poll, ones that give an entirely different take on the situation?
Here’s one of them: “Majority of Americans in Democrat-heavy poll favor an impeachment inquiry into President Trump.”
Wouldn’t most Americans looking for unbiased information want the context that the poll interviewed more Democrats than Republicans?
A check of the poll data shows it interviewed 124 more Democrats than Republicans. That’s a statistically significant difference — 6 percentage points more Democrats than Republicans. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that Democrats and Republicans generally respond along party lines, a sample that looked at 6 percentage points more Republicans instead of Democrats would blow the “headline” that “a majority of Americans” favors the impeachment inquiry. It would, theoretically, change the pro-impeachment inquiry majority to a minority: 49 percent favoring the impeachment inquiry, and 51 percent opposing. (Continued...)
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