Mark Twain (among others) once said that there are three kinds of lies - lies, damn lies and statistics. After reading Rich Lowry of the National Review, I've decided that there one more kind of like should be added to that prestigious lists - polls. Look at the following CNN poll, conducted in early August (h/t Polling Report):
"Do you think the U.S. should withdraw SOME troops from Iraq by the end of the year, or do you think the U.S. should keep the SAME NUMBER of troops in Iraq through the end of the year?" If "Withdraw": "Do you think the U.S. should withdraw ALL troops from Iraq by the end of the year, or do you think the U.S. should keep SOME troops in Iraq through the end of the year?" Half sample, MoE ±4.5 (8/2-3/06 )Now, the average reader might examine this and note that 61% of those polled favor a withdrawal of at least some forces by the end of the year. But Mr. Lowry is a different sort of animal. He looks at these lemons and instead makes a whole buttload of tomato juice. From Townhall via Think Progress:
Withdraw All - 26%
Withdraw Some - 35%
Keep Same Number - 34%
Unsure - 5%
Politically, Iraq is a loser for Republicans, except for the bright spot that the American public is not yet ready to quit. A CNN poll in August found that 69 percent of Americans oppose withdrawing American troops by the end of the year[.]
Eh? Did you see what he did there? He took the "Keep Same Number" and added it to the "Withdraw Some" number to get to his 69% figure. So, what Lowry is saying is 69% of those surveyed do not support withdrawing ALL troops. Of course, he didn't say this in the quoted statement above, but I'm sure that I'm just being nitpicky. Far be it from me to point out any intellectual dishonesty on Mr. Lowry's part.