QUESTIONS ONLY FOX NEWS WOULD ASK…. As regular readers know, most national polls from major news outlets are interesting for their results. Fox News polls are interesting for their questions. Most reputable news outlets try to maintain a degree of seriousness with their poll questions. Fox News prefers to add a little panache to their surveys.
It’s always a bit of a mystery — what kind of nutty questions can Fox News come up with this time?
First, the more mundane details from the latest survey. President Obama’s approval rating was 62% in this poll, up two points from Fox News’ poll in May. When respondents were asked, “Do you think the nation’s economy is getting better or getting worse?” the overall responses were pretty evenly divided, but there’s a huge partisan gap — Democrats and independents were far more likely to see an improving economy than self-identified Republicans.
More interesting, of course, were the non-traditional questions.
* Fox News asked whether respondents have a “generally favorable or unfavorable opinion” of a variety of individuals and institutions — including ACORN. The poll found that 17% have a favorable opinion of ACORN, 31% have an unfavorable opinion, 17% can’t say, and 35% have never heard of the group.
* The poll asked, “Who do you think is better qualified to manage major American businesses and corporations that are having financial problems — the federal government or business executives?” Not surprisingly, a plurality (49%) believed business executives are better qualified to manage businesses. And since no one is suggesting that the government manage American businesses and corporations, the question doesn’t mean anything.
* Fox News asked, “Do you think it was in the country’s best interest for the government to save General Motors or should the government have let the market determine whether GM survives?” Given this wording, it was hardly a surprise that a 52% majority preferred letting the market decide. (Alternate question the network didn’t ask: “Do you think it was in the country’s best interest for the government to save General Motors or should the government have let GM collapse and take millions of American jobs with it?”)
* The poll asked, “Barack Obama says he quit smoking cigarettes. Do you think Obama is still sneaking cigarettes at the White House or do you think he has completely quit smoking?” I have no idea why the network, or anyone else, cares.
* And the poll also asked, “Who would you rather meet and have your picture taken with? Barack Obama, the Pope, Hannah Montana, or Tiger Woods?” Overall, the president was easily the top choice, but among Republicans, Tiger Woods beat out the Pope.