SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Biased wording or message testing?

Wednesday, Feb 6, 2013

* From a new poll conducted for the We Are One Illinois coalition

Illinois state government has budget problems. Governor Quinn and other politicians say these problems are caused by public employee pay and pensions that should be cut. Public employees say they are middle-class workers like teachers, police, and caregivers, and the budget problems are caused mostly because rich people and big corporations don’t pay their fair share. Which do you agree with more?

    The budget problems are caused more by public employee pay and pensions… 34%

    They are caused more by rich people and big corporations not paying their share… 50%

    Not sure… 16%

You may know that the pension funds for retired public employees like teachers, police, caregivers, and nurses are $97 billion short of the amount they owe to current and future retirees. What do you think is more responsible for the pension debt: public employees with overly generous benefits or politicians who skipped pension payments?

    Overly generous public employee benefits are more responsible for the pension debt… 27%

    Politicians skipping pension payments are… 64%

    Not sure… 9%

There are different ideas about how to solve the pension problem. Governor Quinn and many other politicians support cutting pension benefits earned by retired public employees. Do you support or oppose cutting public employee pensions?

    Support…. 31%

    Oppose… 58%

    Not sure… 11%

…The most significant change proposed by Governor Quinn and other politicians would reduce the pension cost of living adjustment, or COLA, that protects retired public employees from inflation, similar to the COLA earned by Social Security recipients. Politicians say the provision is not affordable. Retirees say they need it to keep up with rising costs. Do you think the cost of living adjustment should be cut or preserved?

    It should be cut… 31%

    It should be preserved… 60%

    Don’t know… 9%

* Chris Wetterich thinks these are totally biased question

The question loads up the description of the parties involved with heavily biased terms. The public generally has a positive view of teachers, police and caregivers. Not so much school administrators, state bureaucrats and DMV workers (although I’ve received very good service at the DMV the few times I’ve renewed my Illinois license). Why not just ask about “public employees,” a neutral term?

And “rich” people, “politicians” and “big corporations” aren’t exactly popular these days. It’s as biased (and inaccurate based on recent job creation numbers) as the right calling them “job creators.” So it’s no surprise that people sided with the teachers, caregivers and cops.

* But it’s not as simple as that. First, that’s the language the unions are using in their public arguments against the changes. So, the poll is basically just testing their arguments.

Second, the numbers are pretty close to this October, 2012 Tribune poll

The poll found that 51 percent blamed the state’s politicians alone for Illinois’ pension problems while only 2 percent said it was just the fault of public workers. Another 32 percent said they believed it was a combination of state workers and politicians who created the problem. […]

Voters across the state were even more divided on another plan pushed by Democratic leaders that would alter benefits for current retirees and existing state workers.

Under that plan, workers and retirees could choose to forgo an annual compounded 3 percent cost-of-living increase to their pension in exchange for being able to have access to the state’s health insurance program. Workers and pensioners who choose to keep the cost-of-living increase would have to find their own health insurance. […]

The poll found that 32 percent of the state’s voters favored the plan, while 35 percent opposed it — within the survey’s 3.7 percentage-point margin of error. Another 33 percent of voters didn’t know enough about the proposal to take a side.

* And here’s a June, 2012 poll taken for Crain’s

And asked whether workers should be forced to choose between paying 3 percent more or losing their state-provided retirement health care, Illinois residents are split 42 percent against and 40 percent in favor.

So, the percentage who believe the politicians messed things up is very similar. The percentage in favor of the pension reform COLA plan is similar. The percentage against is higher in the labor poll, but that’s to be expected with such wording.

So, yeah, some biased wording, but it definitely served its purpose.

* Meanwhile, the NFIB released the results of what it calls a “member ballot”…

Illinois members of the National Federation of Independent Business overwhelmingly oppose any legislation that would increase the state’s minimum wage.

That’s according to the results of the 2013 NFIB/Illinois Member Ballot, released today. Unlike other business groups, NFIB doesn’t have a board of directors that dictates its public-policy positions. NFIB’s positions are based solely on input from its members; the Member Ballot is the most important part of that process.

“When we asked our members whether the General Assembly should raise the minimum wage, the answer was ‘absolutely not,’” said Kim Clarke Maisch, state director of NFIB/Illinois, the state’s leading small-business association, with over 11,000 dues-paying members representing a broad cross section of the state’s economy.

According to the 2013 Member Ballot:

    88.4 percent of members oppose a wage increase, compared with 5.5 percent who favor an increase and 6 percent who were undecided or didn’t answer.

    81.7 percent said they oppose tying the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index to allow for automatic annual increases, compared with 9.5 percent who support the idea and 8.8 percent who were undecided or didn’t answer.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ret. Prof - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 11:16 am:

    Nothing in politics is unbiased. The first thing you learn in graduate intro research classes is people can hold points of view that are inconsistent.

  2. - BMAN - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 11:17 am:

    These questions are biased, there is not much doubt in that. However the questions are no more misleading than surveys put out by the major parties and certainly not as deceitful as the speech to be given later today. I believe the questions accurately capture the attitude of the majority.

  3. - Anonimo - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 11:25 am:

    When members of the NFIB were asked if there should be A minimum wage, the answer was ‘absolutely not.’ When members of the NFIB were asked if they should be able to rely on unpaid interns for all their business’ needs, the answer was ‘absolutely yes!’


  4. - truthteller - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 11:29 am:

    Clearly, the public is not buying what the Governor and legislative leaders are selling.Closing corporate tax loopholes makes sense to everyone but the insiders in Springfield.
    Cutting the pension of 100 year old teachers, like the one featured in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune, makes no sense to anyone, except to the Springfield insiders.

  5. - Endangered Moderate Species - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 11:33 am:

    Bias leaning surveys are only practical in the science of politics. The We Are One Coalition knew how to frame the questions in order to get the results they desired.

  6. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 11:52 am:

    Of what value is such polling?

  7. - Responsa - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 11:55 am:

    Polls and opinion surveys are touted more and more frequently by advocates of special interests and used in the media. There are a few decent polling firms out there which, left to their own devices, genuinely would prefer for their product to tap into the true pulse of a community’s beliefs and opinions. Unfortunately, the majority of surveys these days are commissioned not by unaffiliated independent information gathering parties but by organizations and groups which want to make a specific point (often to their own members). Too many polling firms are more than happy to comply by formatting questions in a way that will assure the hiring entity gets the result it wants.

    The questions of this survey as presented are incredibly biased and leading. That is obvious. So it should be hard to accept or tout the results as factual, even if one would very much like to believe them.

  8. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 12:06 pm:

    So, 1) testing the message, and 2) stirring up the base. Once the message is tested and verified, upon whom is it going to be used?

  9. - Responsa - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 12:13 pm:

    I agree with you that the Trib’s Sunday story featuring the elderly teacher was excellent and very informative. It was an entertaining read and gave insight about the real people out there in the pension system who are in various walks of life –and how vastly different their financial circumstances may be. I’m not sure this complexity has been adequately focused on, or compared, by the media or the public or the pols. That said, I think different readers will come away with many different conclusions about all the ways the state and unions went off the rails with respect to pensions for educators.

  10. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 12:13 pm:

    It seems to me that Ty and the gang toned it down quite a bit after the Trib poll.

    Before then, there were a lot of spots on the radio about those allegedly rapacious public employees.

  11. - iThink - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 12:24 pm:

    What do these polls matter? Seriously.

    The people involved in the pension mess know full well (or at least should) the sources of the unfunded liability and what it is going to take to fix the system. The only poll that would matter is “Would you vote for someone who cut contractual benefits to public employees?” That is the only thing the pols care about.

  12. - Endangered Moderate Species - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 1:06 pm:

    -upon whom is it going to be used?-

    Good question. My guess is they are going to try some type of PR campaign and will use the information to say the public supports them. This could influence legislators in some districts.

  13. - David Ormsby - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 1:58 pm:

    That poll tests messages upon which direct mail, radio and tv ads are based against lawmakers who vote against labor.

    In that sense, the questions are properly worded.

  14. - capncrunch - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 2:03 pm:

    I would have liked to have seen the responses to these questions:

    Would you vote to re-elect someone who has repeatedly voted to divert or skip payments to the State’s pension fund? Yes No Maybe

    Skipping pension fund payments is acceptable if the money is spent instead on:
    State Employees wages Yes No Maybe
    Social programs Yes No Maybe
    Capital programs Yes No Maybe
    Education Yes No Maybe

  15. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 3:21 pm:

    Of course none of these test any realistic alternatives to fix the mess

    These polls are mostly of value to those who like to see their own positions supported.

  16. - Downstater - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 3:31 pm:

    Here is a good question for the poll.
    Would you like to see teachers get an automatic 3% increase on their pension paid for by your 67% increase in state income taxes?

  17. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 4:17 pm:

    Question asked of a man standing trial -

    “so when did you stop beating your wife?”

    Biased. But not surprising.

  18. - Ruby - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 4:52 pm:

    Another poll queston:

    Social Security money was used to help finance wars and other government programs. Do you think the cost of living adjustment for Social Security should be cut or preserved?

    It should be cut

    It should be preserved

    Don’t know

  19. - Meaningless - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 5:07 pm:

    Another polling questions? Do you think politicians bear any moral responsibility to support and uphold the state constitution? 1)Yes 2)No 3)Maybe(but not if it doesn’t support their political agenda)

  20. - RNUG - Wednesday, Feb 6, 13 @ 5:17 pm:

    /snark on

    If we’re going to do push polling, let’s go all the way:

    Over the past 40 years, the State paid less than required into the pension systems. During the same time, the employees always made their required payments. This year the State paid about $6B into the pension funds. If the payments had been made when due, this year’s pension payment would have been about $2B and there would be plenty of money for everything else.

    Who should be sent to jail for creating this problem?

    a) politicans who skipped their payments

    b) employees who made their payments

    /snark off

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Sign of the times?
* Question of the day
* Exelon Just Received A $1.7 Billion Rate Increase Through The Market-Based Capacity Auction
* Today's number: 60
* No imminent power shut-offs
* Chamber all-in on impasse
* COGFA: State receipts down almost a billion dollars in first quarter
* Two racetracks will likely close
* "How many babies have to die?"
* Report: "A billion-dollar giveaway rife with failure"
* Frerichs warns of impasse consequences
* Quinn touring the state
* Yesterday's blog posts

Visit our advertisers...







Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

    * What could have improved the Nexus 6P?
    * Talk Android Apps of the Week: October 4, 2015
    * iPhone 6s, Samsung Gear S2, Nexus 6P comments & more – Pocketnow Daily Recap
    * Jetpack Joyride brings you Back to the Future theme for October
    * Viber: “heart” messages, more characters, forward public chats
    * Samsung Galaxy Active Neo coming to Japan
    * Top 5 Android games of September 2015

    * Hahn discusses Garcia's future with White Sox
    * Eaton, Flowers to have offseason surgery
    * Garcia gives White Sox walk-off win vs. Tigers
    * White Sox relish in walk-off as season nears end
    * Alexei takes in possible final games with Sox
    * White Sox 4, Tigers 3: Comeback jeopardizes draft pick
    * Montas takes hill for Sox 2015 finale


    Main Menu
    Pundit rankings
    Subscriber Content
    Blagojevich Trial
    Updated Posts

    October 2015
    September 2015
    August 2015
    July 2015
    June 2015
    May 2015
    April 2015
    March 2015
    February 2015
    January 2015
    December 2014
    November 2014
    October 2014
    September 2014
    August 2014
    July 2014
    June 2014
    May 2014
    April 2014
    March 2014
    February 2014
    January 2014
    December 2013
    November 2013
    October 2013
    September 2013
    August 2013
    July 2013
    June 2013
    May 2013
    April 2013
    March 2013
    February 2013
    January 2013
    December 2012
    November 2012
    October 2012
    September 2012
    August 2012
    July 2012
    June 2012
    May 2012
    April 2012
    March 2012
    February 2012
    January 2012
    December 2011
    November 2011
    October 2011
    September 2011
    August 2011
    July 2011
    June 2011
    May 2011
    April 2011
    March 2011
    February 2011
    January 2011
    December 2010
    November 2010
    October 2010
    September 2010
    August 2010
    July 2010
    June 2010
    May 2010
    April 2010
    March 2010
    February 2010
    January 2010
    December 2009
    November 2009
    October 2009
    September 2009
    August 2009
    July 2009
    June 2009
    May 2009
    April 2009
    March 2009
    February 2009
    January 2009
    December 2008
    November 2008
    October 2008
    September 2008
    August 2008
    July 2008
    June 2008
    May 2008
    April 2008
    March 2008
    February 2008
    January 2008
    December 2007
    November 2007
    October 2007
    September 2007
    August 2007
    July 2007
    June 2007
    May 2007
    April 2007
    March 2007
    February 2007
    January 2007
    December 2006
    November 2006
    October 2006
    September 2006
    August 2006
    July 2006
    June 2006
    May 2006
    April 2006
    March 2006
    February 2006
    January 2006
    December 2005
    April 2005
    March 2005
    February 2005
    January 2005
    December 2004
    November 2004
    October 2004

    Blog*Spot Archives
    November 2005
    October 2005
    September 2005
    August 2005
    July 2005
    June 2005
    May 2005


    RSS Feed 2.0
    Comments RSS 2.0


    * Number of Chicago heroin overdoses hits 74 in 3 days
    * Car crashes into northern Illinois church, injuring 6
    * University of Illinois opens center for wounded veterans
    * Opponents upset Chief Illiniwek merchandise available online
    * Chicago man charged in 20-month-old's death acquitted
    * Health officials in Lake County encourage flu shots
    * Alleged improprieties force out 2 parole board members
    * Suburban officer accused of using excessive force sentenced
    * Illinois tax break deals yield uncertain results for state
    * Rauner: Illinois budget standoff 'could go on for a while'

    * Weaver tapped to replace LaHood in Illinois Senate
    * Budget impasse cuts services for domestic abuse victims
    * Illinois budget impasse affecting emergency call systems
    * Legal marijuana stirs hope in southern Illinois town
    * Statehouse Insider: We have a problem. Is anyone there?
    * AP Exclusive: Legal marijuana stirs hope in southern Illinois town
    * Gov. Rauner: Illinois budget standoff 'could go on for a while'
    * State revenues down by nearly $1 billion in first quarter
    * Former Gov. Quinn makes speech in Champaign, says he has no plans to run for office
    * Supporters of sexual assault, domestic violence programs warn of cuts due to budget impasse

    * Property tax hike adds up to 'a lot of hot dogs'
    * This tech company is 'ugly and boring'—and booming
    * South Side hospital may reverse years of losses
    * Big boys to change Chicago's skyline
    * Big blunders by Rauner, Madigan leading to Springfield stalemate

    * Franciscan women take final vows at West Side mission
    * Girl, 14, boy, 14, shot in separate shootings in West Englewood, Bridgeport
    * Officials: Man dead, woman wounded during police-involved shooting
    * If driving has peaked in major cities, what's next?
    * No bail for West Side man accused in August slaying
    * Man charged with exposing himself on Green Line held on $150K bail
    * Police: Murder charges filed from September weekend shooting
    * Chicago priest removed for inappropriate adult relationship
    * Firefighters respond to vacant Lawndale warehouse fire

    * Weaver tapped to replace LaHood in Illinois Senate
    * Budget impasse cuts services for domestic abuse victims
    * Illinois budget impasse affecting emergency call systems
    * Legal marijuana stirs hope in southern Illinois town
    * Bernard Schoenburg: An added loss for workers at Illinois State Museum
    * Angie Muhs: Comics, the 'Power of the Press' and more
    * Bernard Schoenburg: An added loss for workers at Illinois State Museum
    * Statehouse Insider: We have a problem. Is anyone there?
    * Statehouse Insider: We have a problem. Is anyone there?
    * Jim Bordeaux-White: Help give lung cancer patients hope for a cure

    * Vet Med Open House
    * Look back: Highlights from Melissa Merli on the week that was
    * Tom Kacich: Could Springfield atmosphere affect selection of auditor general?
    * Look ahead: Top picks from Melissa Merli for the week to come
    * Ask 'Mimi,' Oct. 4, 2015
    * 'Ungifted' is nothing short of genius
    * Mike Pemberton/Voices: Newspaper, coffee and the way of the world in a hotel lobby
    * C-U haiku, Oct. 4, 2015
    * Esther Cepeda: Spare the talk of an 'Asian invasion'
    * John Frayne: Gunns mixed it up in an intimate setting

    * Chicago Cubs do their part, but Pirates will host wild card
    * Jennings' 51-yard TD helps Giants seal 24-10 win over Bills
    * Buerhle, Blue Jays hit hard in 12-3 loss to Rays
    * Chiefs manage 7 field goals, fall to Bengals 36-21
    * Gordon edges Harper for NL batting title on final day

    * House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
    * Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
    * The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
    * Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
    * Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
    * CBD Oil, and politics
    * Simon considering state Senate bid
    * Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
    * Shutdown? State may not notice
    * Rep. Bob Dold

    * Senators Introduce Landmark Bipartisan Sen......

    * Kirk's VA bill fails to move ahead in Sena......

    * McHenry Community High School teachers are out.
    * We drove to McHenry this Sunday to support striking teachers in District 156.
    * Party, and Decorate, and Trick-or-Treat, All In Sheridan Park on Halloween
    * Hebru Brantley Mural Completed On Broadway
    * East St. Louis teachers walk out.
    * Sunday posts, pics and tweets.
    * Meet Uptown's "Gangsters and Ghosts" On October 29th
    * You’re Invited – Illinois REbarcamp Powered by YPN!
    * Next 10 general admission registrants for Vertex 15 Conference get extras
    * Chicago chapter of NAREB collaborates to serve consumers

      Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller