Understanding the Gallup-ing Ghost Poll on CardCheck

In the mail this morning were notes referencing a new Gallup poll on public reactions and perceptions to the Employee Free Choice Act, also known as CardCheck. The new Gallup poll, Majority Receptive to Law Making Union Organizing Easier, uses language that is entirely misleading. This seems to have escaped those sending around otherwise important highlights and notes on the poll.

For instance, one paragraph sent around conservative circles this morning reads:

An important takeaway is that “those most closely following news about the union-organizing bill are the most opposed to the general concept of a law making it easier for unions to organize: just 40% are in favor; 58% are opposed.” (Lydia Saad, “Majority Receptive to Law Making Union Organizing Easier,” Gallup, 3/17/09)

Sure, it is important to note that the majority of those who follow closely and therefore see more of the details oppose the Employee Free Choice Act. And that is, of course, true. But that’s not what Gallup says.

Another at least equally “important takeaway” is the manner in which the Gallup poll terms the elimination of secrecy in voting as “making it easier for unions to organize”. What it should say is that those who follow closely object to “making it more intimidating for workers to remain non-union”.

But of course, it doesn’t.

That is exactly what the objection is, not objection to “making it easier.”

But you’ll have to pick that Gallup-ing ghost out of the crowd of opaque phraseology used to once again slant the language used in reporting raw numbers. Conservatives would do well to acknowledge this and make it part of their discussion of this statistically revealing yet linguistically misleading poll.

Isn’t it fascinating that the Gallup poll’s title chooses to employ the findings from those less informed or uninformed, rather than the more valuable data set: Results from those who are more informed and knowledgeable of the bill in question?

If I may answer: No, it’s not fascinating. It’s business as usual.

Pay attention. It’s free. (More free than your shop’s choice will be under this bill’s rules.)

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