There it was, splashed across the front page of Sunday's Enquirer in big, bold letters: “Poll Puts Chabot in Lead.” The headline used for the Internet version was, as usual, even more excitable: “Poll: Chabot Leads Big Over Driehaus.”
The article was about a poll that Cincinnati's only daily newspaper commissioned on Ohio's 1st Congressional District race, using the Survey USA polling firm. Its results show Republican Steve Chabot leading Democratic incumbent Steve Driehaus by 12 points, or 53 percent to 41 percent.
But does the poll provide a complete picture of the race?
As former Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Bill Sloat notes on his Daily Bellwether blog, the poll significantly undercounts the African-American vote in the 1st District.
Although nearly one-third of residents — or 30 percent — in the Congressional District are black, The Enquirer's poll only had 16 percent participation from African-American respondents. Survey USA defends its poll, stating black voters aren't motivated to turn out for the mid-term elections.
Moreover, Sloat mentions that The Enquirer failed to compare the results to an earlier Survey USA poll conducted in the same race for a left-leaning blog. If it had, the newspaper would've learned that Chabot is less popular today than he was before he began his campaign to reclaim his old seat. Back then, Chabot had a 17-point lead — and that was even with a higher percentage of black respondents.
The omissions make Sloat wonder about the supposed objectivity by The Enquirer's news editors.
“And some are wondering:Has the GOP bias that is openly practiced on its editorial page tiptoed into its news pages?”
Read the full blog entry here.