Accuracy in Media

There has been much made in the past few days and weeks about how badly the “Republican brand” is doing. And there can be little doubt that in some ways it is. The latest evidence cited comes from the new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll. The big take-away, noted particularly on NBC and MSNBC, is that President Obama’s job approval, though down a couple of points from the previous month, is still at 50%. It shows that 41% of the 1,000 adults (not likely-voters) polled have a very positive or somewhat positive view of the Democratic Party, while only 29% hold those views of the Republican Party.

But what none of the reports that I’ve seen show is that 46% of the 1,000 people interviewed identify as Democrats, whether strong, not strong or leaning, while only 34% identify as Republicans. I understand the explanation for the oversampling of Democrats, which is a regular complaint from Republicans. It is that more people supposedly identify as Democrats. The other category is Independents, which in this case is 14%. And if we look at the results of the 2012 presidential race, Obama beat Romney by just 51 to 47. So is a 12 point oversampling really justified?

How bad is the Republican brand really doing? According to an article in National Review magazine, not so bad. The nearly 3,000-word article, States of Conservatism by John Hood, points out the following statistics concerning how the Republicans are doing nationally—that is, once you get past the White House and the U.S. Senate:

“Even after giving up some of their 2010 legislative gains thanks to Obama’s 2012 coattails, Republicans still control more state offices than they have in generations. They hold 30 of 50 state governorships and 58 of 98 partisan legislative chambers. The nonprofit news service Stateline reports that in 25 states, comprising 53 percent of the U.S. population, the GOP controls both the executive and the legislative branch. Only 13 states, with 30 percent of the U.S. population, have unified Democratic governments. In addition, Republicans are strongly represented in local government, albeit primarily at the county level rather than in the increasingly Democratic big cities. In some states, such as my native North Carolina, the GOP’s local success has no modern precedent: A majority of the state’s 100 county governments are now under Republican control, which hasn’t been the case since General Sherman’s army was camped outside Raleigh.”

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