I woke up this morning to the headline in the Kansas City Star: “Bush maintains lead in Missouri, new survey shows“. Accompanying this disheartening piece of news is a pie chart, showing a 54 – 32% difference, in patriotic red, white and blue. Enough to make me turn to the sports page, where good news abounds today.
I’m glad I didn’t though, because the headline and chart were terribly misleading. In fact, the article could just as easily have been headlined “Bush lead in Missouri shrinking”, as the race has gone from 48-41 to 49-44, with 7% undecided – all while the press has been parroting claims that Kerry has “abandoned” Missouri. This misleading pie chart was tied to some nonsense about whether the chances of a terrorist attack in the US is less with either candidate (54% of the ordinary citizens polled say it doesn’t matter who is in office – presumably they consulted with their intelligence experts and considered their deep understanding of what motivates terrorists).
Given the studies showing that most undecideds go for the challenger at a 2:1 margin, this makes the Missouri very much up in the air. Not that you’d know it from reading the Star, though.