Biased NBC/WSJ Poll Question Yields 59% Supporting Common Core Standards

Biased NBC/WSJ Poll Question Yields 59% Supporting Common Core Standards

While more states are attempting to extricate themselves from the controversial Common Core standards, a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has suspiciously found that 59 percent of Americans “strongly” or “somewhat strongly” support “adoption and implementation” of the nationalized standards, while only 31 percent oppose them.

The poll, it turns out, has the same telltale sign of bias that has been seen in other polls in which respondents are found to favor Common Core.

In Question 27 of the poll, participants – only 22 percent of whom had already responded that they knew “a lot” about the Common Core – are informed of the following:

Just to make sure that everyone has the same information let me describe the Common Core standards in a bit more detail. The Common Core standards are a new set of education standards for English and math that have been set to internationally competitive levels and would be used in every state for students in grades K through 12.

Based on this information, do you support or oppose the adoption and implementation of the Common Core standards in your state? (IF SUPPORT/OPPOSE, ASK) And, do you STRONGLY (support/oppose) or just SOMEWHAT (support/oppose) this?

Not surprisingly, after that glowing – and invalid – description of the controversial standards, 59 percent of respondents said they either strongly support or somewhat support them, while only 31 percent said they strongly or somewhat oppose them.

Neal McCluskey, associate director of Cato’s Center for Educational Freedom, commented on the bias in the survey:

… It is, in fact, highly debatable that the Core is set to top international levels, while the use of “competitive” might suggest that the standards aren’t just benchmarked to top countries, but will help us to compete with them, an empirically hollow suggestion.

More important, though, is what’s not included: any mention of the massive federal role in pushing state adoption. The WSJ notes this omission deep in its online coverage of the question, after stating that “the Obama administration’s disbursal of federal education grants to states that adopted Common Core set off alarms among conservative activists wary of federal incursion into local schools.”

Similarly, a survey conducted last month by GOP pollster John McLaughlin, and funded by a group that itself is the recipient of a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the primary source of private funding for the Common Core, used what was termed “simple, neutral language” to describe the standards:

Common Core State Standards are simply a set of standards in Math and English which state what a child should know in both subjects by the end of each grade of school they complete. Common Core set expectations for what students should be able to achieve and compare schools from state to state. Knowing this, do you approve or disapprove of the Common Core State Standards?

Following the biased information presented in the question, two-thirds of likely voters said they favored Common Core.

McCluskey quips, “The poll question, in other words, is like failing to tell people pufferfish are poisonous, saying, ‘pufferfish are delicious and nutritious,’ then asking, ‘would you like to eat some pufferfish?'”


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