ATTKISSON: After Adjusting for Lopsided Number of Democrats Polled Heres What Americans Really Think About Impeachment

Deep Dive Into Polls Show 64 believe President Trump doesnt deserve impeachment or think its too soon to know

By Sharyl Attkisson

Texas Insider Report: WASHINGTON D.C. A recent CBS News Poll headlined the findings that a Majority of Americans favor an impeachment inquiry into President Trump" by 55 to 45. But what if theres more than meets the eye?


Ever since his inauguration President Trumps political opponents have been pushing to impeach him. They just hadnt found the right excuse.

They knew in other words where they wanted to end up but just hadnt found the right vehicle to drive down that road.

With the fuss over Ukraine they may have found their vehicle according to many new polls.

Or have they? 

  • A check of the CBS Poll data shows it interviewed 124 more Democrats than Republicans.
  • Thats a statistically significant difference 6 more Democrats than Republicans.
  • Assuming for the sake of argument that Democrats and Republicans generally respond along party lines a sample that looked at 6 more Republicans instead of Democrats would blow the headline" that a majority of Americans" favors the impeachment inquiry.
  • It would theoretically change the pro-impeachment inquiry majority to a minority: 49 favoring the inquiry and 51 opposing.

Like many polls there is plenty of fodder within the CBS News poll results to support either side. The trick is who does the reporting and which points they select to highlight.


What if it turns out there are many other headlines and statistics that could have been chosen from the same poll ones that give an entirely different take on the situation?

Heres one of them: Majority of Americans in Democrat-heavy poll favor an impeachment inquiry into President Trump."

Wouldnt most Americans looking for unbiased information want to know and have the context that the poll interviewed more Democrats than Republicans?

Here are several other points of context that some might find worth mentioning though few did so in their reporting.

The CBS poll shows 58 say Trump does not deserve to be impeached or that its too soon to say."

Using the same math as was used above and adjust that for the lopsided number of Democrats interviewed and it would theoretically:

  • Become 64 that believe President Trump doesnt deserve impeachment or its too soon to know.
  • Then 69 of Republicans who were asked about an impeachment inquiry say it makes them want to defend Trump.
  • width=390In other words theres reason to believe the inquiry could be a motivational factor for Republicans in an election year in a way that benefits Trump.

The CBS News Poll of the Democrat-heavy sample showed that 34 said an impeachment inquiry during the 2020 Campaign will be better for Democrats" while 30 said it would be better for Trump." But had the poll interviewed 6 more Republicans instead of Democrats that number theoretically could tilt in favor of Trumps interest 36 to 28.  

And lastly a majority of those asked as well as a majority each of Democrats Republicans and Independents said they think the primary goal of the Democrats impeachment inquiry is to politically damage Donald Trumps presidency and his reelection."

To summarize a deep-dive into the poll stats suggests numerous other headlines could be appropriate: 

  • Majority of Americans in Democrat-heavy poll says Trump does not deserve to be impeached or its too soon to say"
  • Most Republicans say impeachment inquiry makes them want to defend Trump"
  • Most Americans including Democrats say main goal of impeachment inquiry is to politically damage Donald Trumps presidency and reelection"

None of this is to suggest there isnt a negative trend line for President Trump or that any poll should be reported in a one-sided fashion on behalf of either interest.

But I think were already seeing a continuation of the trend that proved problematic in 2015 and 2016: polls being used to try to shape public opinion rather than to measure it.

We in the media promised we would be self-correcting after making so many mistakes covering the 2016 Campaign.

But its starting to look like were traveling down the same path as we head toward 2020. 


Sharyl Attkisson is an Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist author of The New York Times best-sellers The Smear" and Stonewalled" and host of Sinclairs Sunday TV program Full Measure." Follow her on Twitter @SharylAttkisson.

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