Obama, Dems face hard sell on stimulus
By DAVID ROGERS
Faced with record deficits and a skeptical public, Democrats are doubling up efforts to sell their economic recovery plan....
...public opinion still appears divided on the issue...
Obama economic plan gets high marks
By ANDY BARR
By a large majority, voters favor President-elect Barack Obama’s wide-ranging policy prescriptions to aid the faltering economy, according to a new Politico/Allstate poll.
The survey of 1,007 registered voters conducted Dec. 27-29 showed that 79 percent of respondents favored Obama’s plan. The president-elect is advocating a $775 billion stimulus that includes a major investment in infrastructure projects and alternative energy as well as middle-class tax cuts, job training and health care reform.
Psssst ... Andy? Could you stroll over to the water cooler and let David know that Politico's very own poll disproves the entire premise of yesterday's story?
To be fair, the poll results were announced today, one day after Rogers wrote the story about the "skeptical public." But bells should have been going off anyway in any reasonable reader's head. The story reeked of anecdote and gut feeling, typified by this:
"There’s a sense out there that we keep throwing more and more money at the problem," pollster Neil Newhouse told Politico. "There’s a ton of skepticism out there whether this will make a difference."
When a reporter quotes a pollster who talks about "a sense out there" and "a ton of skepticism" without citing a poll, readers should be .. well, skeptical. No numbers were referenced, no surveys were pointed to in this entire story, nothing but opinions were bandied about by insiders and consultants.
Bottom line: When a story purports to be about public opinion but doesn't bother to include any polling number about public opinion, it should be met with "a ton of skepticism" because "there's a sense out there" that the reporter is not basing his story on anything but gut feeling, without identifying it as such.