An Associated Press story headlined "Voters Souring on McCain" was a case of "near journalistic malpractice," super talker Rush Limbaugh told his vast radio show audience Friday, noting that the AP virtually ignored its own poll results that showed the race to be statistically tied.
Said Limbaugh: "The Associated Press poll shows [John] McCain down to [Barack] Obama 44-42. Now, there's an interesting side light. In the last four weeks, Obama has not moved. He's gone down in some polls. He's not over 50. He can't get over 48. If you take the average of all these polls, he's at 48, and he has not moved in a month."
In the face of this, the headline of the AP story about its own poll was "Voters Souring on McCain." Said a shocked Limbaugh: "Nowhere in the story is their poll mentioned. Their story focuses totally on how voters are souring on McCain, in a poll that they report being 44-42 for Obama -- a two-point poll -- statistically tied.
The AP, Limbaugh fumed, all but hid the results of its own poll. Explaining that to see the results of the poll that the AP story was based on, readers would have to view a PDF. Limbaugh noted that readers would "have to go through it page by page, and finally when you get to page six ... why, right here it is. 'If the 2008 general election for president were being held today, and these were the candidates, who would you vote for?' Obama 44, McCain 42. On page six."
That, said Limbaugh, was within the poll’s margin of error -- meaning the two candidates were statistically tied. The AP story, he said, "deals entirely with how people are souring on McCain. Now, you have to ask a question: Why would the AP be this deceptive? Could it be because the AP is scared?"
Turning to Thursday night's Alfred E. Smith Dinner in New York, where both McCain and Obama spoke, Limbaugh said "McCain killed, he really killed. Obama didn't. I learned something else about Obama last night. This guy is harboring a lot of bitterness. I don't know who wrote his material, but whoever wrote his material is damn mad. And he's mad. He's mad about the way the media is treating him.
"I learned something else. He does not have a sense of humor. I said yesterday that Obama, everyone talks about him being cool. He's not cool. He's cold. He is so cold, he can stand by and let innocent babies who survive abortions be killed. He can sign legislation supporting that. That's cold, folks."
Obama, he said, "has no sense of humor whatsoever out there. So 44-42, AP hides it and then puts a disingenuous spin on voters souring on McCain, Obama stays steady. How can Obama be said to be staying steady when he's been at 48 in all those polls, and he's at 44 in the AP poll?"
In contrast to the biased AP story, a new Gallup tracking poll showed likely voters still at 49-47, favoring Obama. Limbaugh noted that Gallup added "If turnout in this year's election follows traditional patterns by which the voting electorate skews toward those who usually vote as well as those who are interested in this year's election, this race is a close one with Obama holding onto a 2 percentage-point margin, 49-47, which is in the margin of error."
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