It was almost a year ago when I first wrote about some of the more aggravating aspects of the prolific (and right-leaning) pollsters over at Rasmussen Reports.
Then, the complaint was based on one of the more common-yet-controversial aspects of public opinion polling: the use of phrasing in questions to drive the respondent in a certain direction.
This time around, however, Rasmussen's sins are of a far different variety. This time, in an attempt to paint a picture of American public school teachers, they come dangerously close to making shit up:
While most Americans still believe public school teachers aren't paid enough, a sizable number don’t think they should be paid when school is out for the summer.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 40% of Adults believe teachers should be paid for the two to three months that many have off in the summer. But slightly more (44%) don't think teachers should be paid during that time. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided.
There is only one problem with their query here: unless there is a state where this practice takes place (and if there is, I am moving there...STAT), teachers aren't paid during the months they have off.
I know this as well as anyone. I have not seen a paycheck (aside from the supplemental I received for teaching summer school) since July 1st. I won't be seeing another one until October 1st. You live off savings in the summer--the life of a teacher.
Now, some districts will allow you to take your annual salary and stretch it out over twelve checks, but that is not the same as "getting paid for the summer"--it is the distribution of income you have deferred from during the year.
Certainly someone at Rasmussen has to be smart enough to make that distinction, one would think. Which leaves only one reason why Rasmussen would frame this polling question this way--in an attempt to discredit the public school teachers of America.
In a related note, Rasmussen noted in May that while 73% of Americans found teaching to be one of the most important professions in America, only 24% found teaching to be a "desirable profession" to pursue.
Given that one of the perks of the job is that one of the most well-known pollsters in America manufactures controversies in order to make you look bad, to say nothing of the larger conservative media jihad against public education (just look at damned near every one of this guy's comic strips every August), it is hard to imagine that people aren't flooding into the profession.