Scott Rasmussen is to polling what Rush Limbaugh is to objective reporting. That is to say he has no scruples other than to serve up a pre-mashed helping of right-wing propaganda. Whenever the Democratic agenda gains favor, or Obama’s popularity is rising, you can count on Rasmussen to deliver a survey that reports precisely the opposite. For this reason, he is a frequent guest on Fox News. They surely appreciate that when he walks into the studio he brings with him a version of reality that conveniently skews to their prejudices.
Now Rasmussen has introduced an innovative new index that tracks the variances between what he calls the Mainstream public and the Political Elite. In a recent example of this breakthrough, he reports that the Tax Day Tea Parties were viewed favorably by 51% of “Americans” but only 13% of the Political Class shared that view.
So you may be wondering how Rasmussen determines who is an Elitist and who is a Mainstream American. He does this by conducting a comprehensive psychological regimen of inquiry to create a detailed profile of a respondent’s subjective tendencies. I am including here the questions that make up his comprehensive study – all three of them:
- Generally speaking, when it comes to important national issues, whose judgment do you trust more – the American people or America’s political leaders?
- Some people believe that the federal government has become a special interest group that looks out primarily for its own interests. Has the federal government become a special interest group?
- Do government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors?
Answer two of more of those questions affirmatively and you are a Mainstream American. Answer two or more in the negative and you are a Political Elitist. What could be simpler? Or more simple minded?
The good news is that, despite the fact that I am one of the most politically oriented people you could ever hope to meet, according to Rasmussen I am a Mainstream American. I would answer both the second and third questions with a firm “aye.” As for the first question, I do not so much disagree with it as I am confused by it. I don’t know how to compare the judgment of America’s political leaders to that of the American people. Is there an authority to whom I can refer to ascertain the American people’s judgment on any issue? And aren’t America’s political leaders a reflection of the people’s judgment? No matter – I am still squarely Mainstream as measured by Rasmussen’s index.
The problem here is that Rasmussen is using this index to draw distinctions between the two groups and characterize them as significant. Never mind that the Political Class he defines occupies a mere 7% of respondents. With this gimmick he can report nonsense like the Tea Party numbers above. After all, who really cares if 13% of the 7% of Elitists don’t like tea? If he surveyed 1,000 people, then we’re talking about 9 who fall into that category. That’s 9 out of 1,000, or less than 1%.
This has absolutely no statistical value whatsoever. The only purpose it can possibly serve is to create an imaginary group against which to compare other results whose significance you wish to artificially enhance. This permits Rasmussen to imply that an invented class of people have decidedly different values than the rest of us. And since his test for what constitutes a Mainstream American is so broad, the whole process is worthless, and worse, it’s phony. He may as well have asked…
- Generally speaking, when it comes to important national issues, whose judgment do you trust more – Mr. Rogers or the KKK?
- Some people believe that the federal government has become a special interest group that tortures kittens and feeds their remains to crocodiles. Would you oppose the federal government feeding dead kittens to swamp beasts?
- Do government and big business often work together in ways that pad the campaign accounts of politicians and deregulate the affairs of corporations?
Those that do not answer in the affirmative are Poopyheads and may not play with the rest of us Americans. We all owe Rasmussen a debt of gratitude for revealing to us the stark differences that are hidden amongst our nation’s people. He is a master at exposing the vast, make-believe divides that were meant by divine providence to keep us apart and at each others throats. Heaven forbid we might all be more alike than we assumed.