Tuesday, October 14, 2003

FOX News Religious Bias?

In their latest poll FOX News is trumpeting that 92% of Americans believe in "God." Now, why this is something for a news group to poll I do not really know, but FOX does cater to religious right. The bias in this article starts with the following:
Fully 92 percent of Americans say they believe in God, 85 percent in heaven and 82 percent in miracles, according to the latest FOX News poll.
That was from the first paragraph in the article. That says that based on the poll 276 million out of 300 million or so people in America believe in "God." Now, I will try to forgo the problem of lumping "God" as a singular and monolithic title to something that has such widespread variations in definition and belief. Asking if people believe in "witches" is by itself insulting to those who practice Wicca, but I “digress.” (But not really)

The real meat comes later in the intro to the specific polling data results:
Polling was conducted by telephone September 23-24, 2003 in the evenings. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ±3 percentage points. Results are of registered voters, unless otherwise noted. NA = national adult
Please note the part that I made bold. This poll was of only registered voters. This poll does not mean that 92% of Americans believe in "God", it should have read 92% of Registered Voters. So the leading poll question, one that does not define what they mean by "God," is limited to a subsection of the populace, but is passed off as the results for the entire population.

Polling registered voters is fine, when polling on political issues affecting elections. They are only ones who can vote, so the results are valid. This poll, even beyond the leading "concepts" of "God, Heaven, Hell, and the Devil", is flawed and misleading. I wonder if showing as high a possible percentage of people "believing" in "God" provides support to those who want state religion by popular vote. Well, I don't need to wonder, because I can see no other logical rationale for spinning this story that way, beyond incompetence of course.

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