Pollster Doug Schoen is the quintessential “Fox News Democrat.” He loosely identifies himself as a Dem, but as someone who’s actively hostile towards Dems and the party’s agenda, Schoen is really only popular as a personality in GOP media. Fox News gets to tout its “balance” by inviting him on the air — Republicans who hate Democrats are joined by Democrats who hate Democrats.
With that in mind, Schoen has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today, urging President Obama to steer clear of the “radical” Occupy Wall Street protesters for his own good. (Given that Schoen has already urged the president to drop out of the 2012 race, one might question whether the Fox News Democrat has Obama’s best interest at heart.)
The op-ed’s analysis is strikingly weak. Apparently, Schoen conducted a poll of nearly 200 OWS demonstrators in New York’s Zuccotti Park the other day, and uncovered evidence of the burgeoning movement’s “radicalism.” Like what? Well, it turns out, 77% of the activists support raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
That’s not especially shocking — a CNN poll released yesterday found 76% of the national population supports the same thing. Indeed, there’s ample evidence that the American mainstream shares the same concerns being raised by the OWS protests.
But if Schoen’s op-ed was simply based on a flawed understanding of public attitudes, it’d be easier to ignore. Instead, Schoen argued that the activists oppose “free-market capitalism and support for radical redistribution of wealth,” when in fact his own research suggests otherwise.
At Capital New York, Azi Paybarah has obtained the full poll results, and Schoen appears to have grossly misrepresented the results of his poll. He writes that a “large majority” are bound together by support for a “radical redistribution of wealth.” But when he asked the protesters what they’d like the Occupy Wall Street movement to achieve just 4 percent said “radical redistribution of wealth,” which tied for last on the list of answers given. There is no mention of “radical redistribution of wealth” anywhere else in the poll. […]
Similarly while Schoen writes that a “large majority” express “opposition to free-market capitalism,” when asked what frustrates them most about the U.S. political process, just 3 percent named “our democratic/capitalist system.” Out of 198 respondents, that amounts to 5 or 6 people, which is quite the opposite of a large majority.
After Schoen’s incessant condemnations of Democrats, and praise for right-wing Tea Party activists, his credibility has crumbled. Today’s op-ed probably won’t help restore his reputation.
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