Journalism and those claiming to be journalists in America have been not only increasingly and overtly partisan over the past 25 years, but also increasingly indolent. Far too many rely on the lunacy, vitriol, and rumor-mongering on social media as the primary source of many of their stories and to make assumptions as to what American society thinks on any particular issue. Another source of so-called “news” is generated by their ideological cohorts in the polling industry.
Polling in modern America has degenerated into a vehicle to create news and headlines and to shape public opinion on an issue or an individual.
Over the past few days, the lead on every cable news channel and the headline in virtually all newspapers is Fox News claiming in its exclusive poll that 51% of Americans now favor impeachment and removal of President Trump.
How did the Fox polling unit come up with this number?
The Fox news polling companies interviewed 1,003 registered voters, ostensibly throughout the length and breadth of the United States. Many polling companies use either all adult Americans (254 million) or registered voters (158 million in 2016) as their universe for polling. Obviously, the greater the number of potential people to contact and question, the easier a poll is to complete and to skew a result. In reality, what matters is who votes in an election. In 2016, 86% (or 136.6 million) of registered voters cast a vote. A poll of likely voters would inherently be more reliable but more difficult to achieve. Currently, only Rasmussen among national polls uses exclusively likely voters and they are among the most reliable.