The federal government is on the verge of shutting down as Republican and Democratic Party negotiators have failed to reach a compromise on a bill to continue to fund the government. Progressives are resisting deeper cuts to programs Main Street Americans rely on, like Pell Grants and Head Start, yet Tea Party Republicans continue to demand more cuts.
This morning, Fox News hosted Rep. Allen West (R-FL) to talk about the cuts that the Tea Party wants. In order to frame the discussion as supporting West’s position, which is anti-compromise, the right-wing network cited a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that it claimed showed that most Americans do not want the Republicans to compromise. Host Martha MacCallum claimed the poll showed that “56 percent of Americans say that [Republicans] should stick to their positions.” Watch it:
The problem with the poll that Fox cited is that it doesn’t say anything like what they claim it does. In fact, it appears that they actually switched the numbers around. The poll in question does find that 56 percent of respondents do not want to see the GOP compromise, but the question was directed to self-identified Republicans — meaning that Fox essentially took the number for Republicans and claimed that it represented all Americans:
In reality, the poll also shows that a plurality of Americans think Republicans would bear responsibility for a shutdown:
Unfortunately, misreporting poll numbers is nothing new for Fox News. Earlier this year, Fox reversed the results of a poll to claim that most Americans do not back public employee collective bargaining rights.