James Taranto shows us the flaws in this poll conducted by the Washington Post and ABC. Some of the questions included:
The Senate has confirmed 35 federal appeals court judges nominated by Bush, while Senate Democrats have blocked 10 others. Do you think the Senate Democrats are right to block these nominations? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?
Would you support or oppose changing Senate rules to make it easier for the Republicans to confirm Bush’s judicial nominees?
Taranto notes that:
Read these questions carefully and you’ll see that the Post’s headline is false. The poll not only doesn’t use the word filibuster; it doesn’t even describe the procedure. The way the question is worded, the Democrats could have “blocked” the nominations by the normal method of voting them down–and there is no reason to think that “randomly selected adults” would have been paying enough attention to know the difference.
John at Power Line also has a problem with that latter question, saying:
That is an absurd question, to which I would probably answer “No,” too. The way the question is framed, it makes it sound like a one-way street, as though the Republicans wanted to change the rules to benefit only Republican nominees. If they asked a question like, “Do you think that if a majority of Senators support confirmation of a particular nominee, that nominee should be confirmed?” the percentages would probably reverse.
A confidential Washington Post source sent me an advance copy of another poll to be conducted next week. The first question is:
Would you support an initiative to let Senate Republicans break into your house, take all of your wife’s jewelry, and perform the ancient divinatory rite of haruspication using the family dog while President Bush sings “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy” and shouts racial epithets in the background? Do you feel strongly about this?”
It’s my understanding that the questions sort of go down from there.