Advancing a Free Society

How to Distort Polls: The NYT/CBS Poll on Public Sector Workers

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The big surprises of yesterday’s NYT/CBS national poll on public sector unions were that 61 percent of adult Americans think that public employee salaries and benefits are “too low” or “about right,” 56 percent oppose cutting public employee salaries and benefits to reduce state deficits, and 40 percent prefer increasing taxes to decreasing spending on other things, among them public employee salaries and benefits. (The poll reports that even a slight majority of Republicans said public employee wages and benefits were “too low” or “just about right.”).

These results raise eyebrows. They seem to contradict the November election results. Perhaps the fickle electorate has changed its mind since November? Last night’s political talk shows were abuzz.

These poll results are so out of line with conventional thinking that they require careful scrutiny. My own (admittedly non-expert) examination raises three red flags:

FIRST: Why are there so many public-employee and union households in the sample?

Continue reading Paul Gregory…