Or so the CBS news headline goes regarding a recent CNN poll tells us. It was posted by a "friend" on a certain popular social network, and "liked", of course, by several of his friends. And so I read the story and went out and looked at the poll data.
When you get to the bottom of it, the data backing this PR-driven headline is that Palin, a non-encumbent, potential candidate who has not declared candidacy in a wide open field of potential candidates -- has had support by her party drop by 18 points in the last two years (down to a "measely" 49%). Meanwhile, Obama, the encumbent and presumed candidate has hand his support by his party rise by 2-5 points in the past few months, depending on which particular month you pick. And these numbers fluctuate more like noise in the data, with no trending to the graph.
I'm shocked. SHOCKED, I tell you. :-)
Of course if you pick Obama's approval rating over the same period as the one over which Palin's is measured, you find it has had a fairly similar fate to Palin's.
Obama rising, Palin falling. O.... kay.
Polls to create the desired headlines. Oh yeah, everybody does it (meaning both, or "all" sides). But it's one of many things that are wrong with the way we do things around here.
When I pointed this out, the response I got was "it's just a poll".
Actually, at least CBS thought it was "news" enough to write a story that went to the lengths described above to torture a headline out of it that would catch people's attention ... in a certain way. And the "friend" who says it's "just a poll" when someone challenged the story thought it important enough to pass along (you don't think that kind of behavior has anything to do with CBS's story, do you?)
For someone who is supposedly totally irrelevant she sure gets brought up in headlines a lot -- in stories designed to tell us all how totally irrelevant she is.