06.25.2010 0

NYT Boosts Democratic Candidates, Spins Economic Data and Ignores Polls

By Kevin Mooney — High unemployment numbers typically translate into large electoral losses for the political party that holds power. High unemployment numbers that converge with mid-term elections could be particularly problematic for Democrats in that the party that holds the White House typically losses congressional seats.

Polls show that House and Senate Democrats are in trouble and could face losses that well exceed the historical average in the run up to November. Today’s front page report demonstrates that the New York Times will make every effort to salvage incumbents who favor their big government agenda.

Oddly enough, the reporter even acknowledges that the article is rooted more in wishful thinking than it is in any hard data.

“Political analysts expect Republicans to make gains — possibly significant ones — in Congress in November, threatening to retake the House and maybe even the Senate,” The Times concedes. “But digging deeper, beyond the national numbers, reveals at least a few glimmers of hope for Democrats — still fairly distant and faint, but bright enough to get campaign strategists scanning the horizon and weighing the odds.”

The central argument here is built around job prospects in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York where Democrats are vulnerable in normally safe seats. Apparently, manufacturing is on the upswing in all three states and job are beginning to come back. Remarkably, The Times also claims high unemployment numbers do not necessarily connect with political contests.

“While much attention has been paid to the nation’s stubbornly high unemployment rate, political scientists have found little correlation between that measure and midterm elections results. Instead, they have found more broad-based indicators, particularly real personal disposable per capita income, which measures the amount of money a household has after taxes and inflation, to be better gauges,” The Times claims.

But unemployment was a key ingredient of the so-called “misery index” that the liberal media often applied against Republican candidates throughout the 1970s and early 1980s before the economy turned upward under President Reagan.

That’s what you call spin and there’s more.

Moody’s Analytics examined some of the House and Senate seats for the NYT that offered up “some surprising bits of encouragement for Democrats but also adds color to the overall daunting picture confronting the party. At the very least, any such signs of hope are certain to affect the strategies being worked out now in campaigns,” according to the report.

But there is very little in the way of specificity once the article moves on from Pa., N.Y. and Ohio. The piece is mostly speculative and more suitable for the blogosphere than it is for the news section of the front page. Readers are told that The Times has identified 114 House seats and 17 Senate seats as being particularly competitive come November. Significant Republican gains could potentially set back the big agenda NYT advances on its editorial pages. Just recently, the newspaper complained that ObamaCare regulations did not go far enough.

Here are some hard numbers included in the Wall Street Journal/NBC news poll that show Democrats are back on their heels even if the public is not in love with GOP.

The number of people who say the country is headed in the wrong direction is 62 percent with 50 percent expressing disapproval over President Obama’s handling of the economy. Moreover, the administration’s mishandling of the BP oil spill has also factored into the equation with about 50 percent expressing disapproval over Obama’s lethargic response.

But the most telling numbers relate to Congress.

When prospective voters were asked to weigh in on their party preference, 45 percent of those surveyed say they want Congress to be controlled by Republicans, while 43 percent want Democrats in charge. By contrast, the public favored a Democratic Congress by a margin of 48 to 39 in April of last year. That’s quite a drop.

The report would be more persuasive if it included statistics and evidence that showed Republicans were also losing ground with the electorate as their Democratic counterparts implode. That’s not here. Instead, the NYT recruits Moody’s Analytics to help take the edge off troubling economic news that normally bites the incumbent party.

“The economic forecasting company also predicts housing prices will rise in metropolitan areas connected to a fifth of the competitive House seats identified by The Times,” the report says. “The forecasters project three-quarters of the competitive districts will experience employment growth in their corresponding metropolitan areas between the fourth quarter of 2009 and the fourth quarter of 2010.”

Republicans still have a long distance to travel before voters are convinced they are serious about downsizing government and restoring constitutionalism. But there is no denying how much political trouble the Democrats are now in less than two years after the liberal media suggested Republicans would be consigned to the political wilderness for decades.

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