Manufacturing right-wing bias
Although 58 percent of voters want to abolish birthright citizenship for illegal aliens, "[s]ixty percent (60%) of voters favor a welcoming immigrant policy that excludes only national security threats, criminals and those who would come here to live off our welfare system." Honestly, though, what a crappy question. What is really being tested when a question asking about welcoming immigrants excludes immigrants "who would come here to live off our welfare system"? At the 30,000 foot level, this kind of qualification is like polling people about whether or not they would like to have a nice cookie "that doesn’t have ants in it." Umm, yes, sign me up for that cookie, and leave all those anty cookies back on the shelf.
That anyone takes Rasmussen seriously anymore is beyond me. Then again Fox is considered ‘fair and balanced’ by right-wingers, so it’s no great surprise that Rasmussen is similarly well-received. That’s Rasumussen’s raison d’etre after all – to offer comfort to its intended audience and to provide cover for right-wing bias under the guise of an actual poll.
Legitimate polling outfits don’t toss in qualifiers like “to live off our welfare system” when asking about immigration. That would be, at best, two separate questions – “Do you approve of immigration?” and “Should immigrants be allowed to benefit from our welfare system?”
Sure, there are other pollsters out there providing spin on any number of issues. Campaign pollsters routinely do this, because they want their guy to win. But even campaign pollsters want to know where they really stand in a given race, and will turn to reliable polling operations to find out. Rasmussen is like a campaign pollster for the conservative movement writ large.
I think the notion of ‘epistemic closure’ has been regurgitated and batted about to the point of silliness at this point – but it strikes me that Rasmussen and similar organizations are in the business of manufacturing this sort of worldview much more than they are in the business of discovering what Americans actually think. I wonder if this whole epistemic closure thing would be such a relevant topic if we had more honest and less biased conservative news organizations out there. Then again, perhaps there really just isn’t the market for that sort of thing.