Rasmussen Push-Polling: HowTo (re: Network Neutrality)

It turns out that one of the things I enjoy doing is pointing out how the powerful screw over the ignorant.  Strange thing to enjoy, I know, but said perverse pleasure is certainly extant, so here’s another round.

Many of you reading have probably heard the phrase “Net Neutrality”  (or the more technically accurate version, “Network Neutrality”).    Most of you probably don’t know what it means.  This isn’t a judgement on you, but more likely your sources of information (i.e. The Media (italicized to portray ominous overtones)).   In fact, given that there has been a directed misinformation campaign about the concept, and its implementation, this general state of confusion in the electorate is understandable.*

So…the public is confused…the topic is technical…and the government is getting involved.   What does the gameplan* call for?  Tell the public what they think and make it sound plausible.

Which brings us to the poll….

Just 21% Want FCC to Regulate Internet, Most Fear Regulation Would Promote Political Agenda

The survey was conducted shortly after the FCC decided on a party line vote to impose so-called “net neutrality” regulations on the Internet world. Republicans and unaffiliated voters overwhelmingly oppose FCC regulation of the Internet, while Democrats are more evenly divided. Those who use the Internet most are most opposed to FCC regulations.

By a 52% to 27% margin, voters believe that more free market competition is better than more regulation for protecting Internet users. Republicans and unaffiliated voters overwhelmingly share this view, but a plurality of Democrats (46%) think more regulation is the better approach.

Seems pretty straightforward, eh?  Republicans, being good and loving freedom, oppose “Net Neutrality” and prefer free markets to oppressive government regulation.   Unaffiliated voters agee and only those  Democrats want the Government to control everything so they can keep being elected even with their totally unpopular opinions.

The funny thing about this poll?  The questions themselves have absolutely nothing to do with Network Neutrality.  They aren’t even close .

1* How closely have you followed stories about Internet neutrality issues?

 [This one is fine, and probably used to fine tune future push-polling, or test for general susceptability.    Note how the results from this question appear as a last-line afterthought in the Rasmussen story.  Note also how this issue is *very* susceptible to push polling…most don’t know, or care….much about the topic.]

2* Should the Federal Communications Commission regulate the Internet like it does radio and television?

 [This question has nothing to do with Network Neutrality at all and is *very misleading*.   The only way the recent rules for Net Neutrality resemble TV or radio regulation is the part of TV and radio regulations that say you can’t broadcast signals on competitor’s frequencies in order to degrade their service to end consumers.   And even that’s a stretch.

The unstated implicaition here is for *content* filtering (i.e. no nipple slips, no more Rush or Glenn).  Net Neutrality explicitly forbids content filtering (that’s the whole point of it).   Hence this question is horrible for anything other than pushing an opinion on a confused populace.] 

3* What is the best way to protect those who use the Internet—more government regulation or more free market competition?

[This question sets up a false dichotomy.   What if the best way to protect the Net is more of both?   Less of both?  And there’s a very important second part of the question omitted…protect those who use the Internet..from what?   Being ripped off?   Criminals?  Hacking?  Paying more for wireless than every other 1st world country?  Having their service degraded because a content provider didn’t pay off their ISP?   

And because the telecom market (and broadband in particular) has some curious quirks, what happens when the best way to protect those who use the Interent is more free market competition spurred by government regulation?   I know, that makes some heads asplode, but it is precisely what other countries have done to keep the market working (the entrenched telecoms oppose “unbundling” which would lead to more free market competition, as a rule).

Note also that this question, in addition to being a flase dichotomy, is also completely unrelated to Net Neutrality.  One’s answer mainly hinges on private sector/public sector bias and little else]

4* If the Federal Communications Commission is given the authority to regulate the Internet, will they use that power in an unbiased manner or will they use it to promote a political agenda?

[This is probably the worst of the lot, so I’ll just let it stink up the place on its own.   I will point out that Network Neutrality, by defintion, requires the network to treat content in an unbiased manner.  If you agree that ISP’s shouldn’t be messing around with the content you request in your browser/phone/ipad/etc, you support Net Neutrality.   There is no way in hell you could have ever figured that out from these questions.  In fact, you’d probably be left with the exact opposite impression….pushed by the poll.]

And to make the long story short, let me go ahead and post this summarizing comment on the original thread that lead me to the link….

Rasmussen fields polls that ask leading and tendentious questions that dovetail with conservative orthodoxy whose results are then picked up by media outlets to drive a narrative that conservative positions are popular?

I’m stunned.

Me too.  

I’ll update this after I find the results of this horrid poll being cited as popular support against Net Neutrality.   Shouldn’t take long now…

* Sowing this confusion, and turning scientific and technical problems into political opinions, is now a time-honored tradition by entrenched industries facing the music for the wide-ranging negative effects of their business practices.  There is even a well-known blueprint on how to do so….

 According to Brownell and Warner, the common strategies include dismissing as “junk science” peer-reviewed studies showing a link between their products and disease; paying scientists to produce pro-industry studies; sowing doubt in the public’s mind about the harm caused by their products; intensive marketing to children and adolescents; frequently rolling out supposedly “safer” products and vowing to regulate their own industries; denying the addictive nature of their products; and lobbying with massive resources to thwart regulatory action.

UPDATE: Derpa, derpa, derpa, derp.

That is what Free Press is after with its “net neutrality” regulation. It is laying the groundwork for government control of the Internet. Once that it is established, it will be able to shout down websites with which it doesn’t agree, if not shut them out altogether.

UPDATE 2: D-derp, d-derp, d-derp.

Rasmussen’s Dec. 23 national telephone survey of 1,000 likely voters found that 54 percent oppose such regulation, and another 25 percent are not sure, while only 21 percent favor it.

The survey was conducted shortly after the FCC decided on a party line vote to impose so-called “net neutrality” regulations on the Internet world.

UPDATE 3: Derp-a-lurpa-ding-dong.  News Corp FTW.  I love how they take the spin inherent in the poll and spin it even faster….so much so that it takes on a life of its own.
Rasmussen’s latest poll reinforces what everyone — Congress, the courts and the general public — understands about the internet, but Democrat bureaucrats do not: the Internet should be free and open. In response to the FCC’s (Democratic) party-line vote in favor of regulating the delivery of the internet (the Republican commissioners voted against), Rasmussen did a national telephone survey to determine how citizens feel about federal bureaucrats inserting themelves into the web.
I love how Abby Wisse Schachter is a complete and total liar.  No wait….I remember…I love *pointing out* how Abby Wisse Schachter is a complete and total liar. 

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