How a poll is interpreted by news organizations

Quinnipiac University released a poll comparing President Obama and his Republican challengers in Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio.  The university’s news release reads this way: In his best showing in this election cycle, President Barack Obama pulls away from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in two critical swing states, while a third state remains too close to call.

I thought it would be interesting to see how news organizations interpreted the polling results for their readers. And each organization gives the results a different slant — in some cases, very different. Here is a sampling.

Miami HeraldThe improving economy and a diminishing GOP brand are boosting President Obama and hamstringing his Republican rivals in the must-win swing states of Florida and Ohio.

Wall Street JournalBarack Obama is benefiting from an improving economy – and from the fact that most voters don’t blame him for rising gasoline prices, according to a new Quinnipiac poll of key swing states.

Cleveland Plain DealerPresident Barack Obama would win Ohio, and therefore probably the nation, if the 2012 election were held today, according to a new poll released this morning by Quinnipiac University.

Los Angeles TimesPresident Obama‘s standing in a trio of battleground states is improving, while GOP front-runner Mitt Romney is struggling on the key test of favorability, two new polls indicate.

Washington PostPresident Obama is pulling away from his Republican rivals in key swing states, a new Quinnipiac poll finds.

Tampa Tribune — A large gender gap and a recovering economy are pushing President Barack Obama to a significant lead in Florida over Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, a new Quinnipiac University poll says.

Bloomberg News — President Barack Obama runs ahead of Republican front-runner Mitt Romney in two states critical to deciding the November election and leads by a lesser margin in a third, according to a poll that says Obama is benefiting from a recovering economy and support among female voters.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette— A new poll of Pennsylvania voters shows a close race between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, while matchups in two other swing states lean toward the president.

Scranton Times-Tribune — In new surveys of voters in Pennsylvania and two other presidential race swing states, President Barack Obama led the top Republican contenders in all three with an improving economy fueling his leads, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

Warning!  To quote a CNN story about its own poll: Remember that the election is not being held today, so the survey is not a prediction of what will happen in the general election.

— John Robinson


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