Dick Morris has a new book coming out that accuses the paper of deliberately slanting its polling data in favor of Democrats. Timothy Noah does a pretty good job of refuting these charges. Interestingly, he concludes with a mini-scandal of his own:

By no means does Chatterbox intend to exonerate the Times from now and then running vaguely dishonest poll stories that put relatively unimportant information at the top because it’s what the editors want to hear, and more important information way down in the 27th paragraph because it’s not what the editors want to hear. Various people, including Morris, fault the Times for doing this. The Times does do it, and it’s annoying. But altering the data itself would be much worse than annoying. It would be a scandal. That’s why Chatterbox has taken up this much space to refute what he considers to be a pretty careless smear on Morris’ part.

It is by no means clear why deliberately misreporting the results of a poll is any less scandalous than deliberately fudging the polling methodology. I also find it especially amusing that this appears near the bottom of a very long piece on how the NYT doesn’t slant its polls. Hmm.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John Lemon says:

    I actually think it is a bit worse than Noah assumes (though perhaps better than what Morris implies). The Times often leaves out information entirely, though it is available on some links on their website (which is how I know about it). Plus, their polls only present the “marginals” — i.e., the basic percentages for each question — rather than looking at various segmentations of the data. I know this is not done for means of getting right to the story, but it can be quite revealing.

    And now to take your tempature, how has your faith in the NYT’s been doing lately?

  2. James Joyner says:

    Heh. Well, I still read it. But I am getting more skeptical. It’s really quite bizarre.