News reports keep telling us that public opinion is running against the Republicans in their campaign to end filibusters against judicial candidates. And two recent polls, at least, would appear to bear that out.You know what that means, FOX viewers. It's time for "How Can You Tell When Polls Are Biased?"
But do they really do that?
And tonight's guest hackpert is Daron Shaw, professor of political science at the University of Texas, part of whose work is the study of polling. And Daron's a busy guy: he's also a member of the FOX News election night decision team, which Hume tells us. Shaw also was a Bush 2000 campaign advisor, which of course Hume doesn't tell us.
It won't spoil the surprise, will it, if I tell you that Shaw's hackpert opinion is that the poll questions are phrased in a way that works against Republicans?
HUME: Right. All right, now, we proceed to the one from the Pew Center that said, "The Republicans won the last election, so the president should be able to appoint anyone he wants to the federal courts, if a majority of the senators agreed."So there you have it, FOX viewers. Not to worry. Public opinion is not really running against the Republicans on the nuclear option.
And that was posed alongside a question that said, "The minority party ought to be able to block some of the judges they feel strongly about because judges are appointed to the federal courts for life terms." What’s your assessment of those two questions?
SHAW: Right. Well, I love what they tried to do here, which is they basically sort of went into the game saying, "You know, people aren’t going to know much about this. So let’s give them the Republican option, or you know, the Republican spin and the Democratic spin and see how they play out." The trouble I have is that — and they get predictable results, which is the Republican spin works positively for the Republican position, Democrats, it works well for the Democratic position.
HUME: On the other hand, they don’t refer to the Democrats by name. They refer to them only as the minority party, right?
SHAW: Exactly, "minority party." And in talking about the Republicans, you know, they basically sort of present a Republican — a particular Republican option that is certainly not the way the RNC would frame this, because what they say is that Bush can nominate anyone he wants.
And the use of the word "anyone," I think, is sort of provocative. I mean, it leads people to believe he could nominate Elmer Fudd, when in fact, you know, Bush’s judicial nominees, so far as I know, have not only been judged qualified but I think well-qualified by the ABA [American Bar Association]. . . . So this notion of "anyone" — you know, Bush can nominate anyone, I think, kind of artificially suppresses support for the Republican position, compared to the Democrats.
HUME: All right. Daron Shaw, great to have you. Thanks for your help on this.Personally, a Bush nomination of Elmer Fudd would go a long way with me.