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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Sunday Morning Stumbles

A lot of talking gets done on the Sunday morning shows, so it's no surprise that a verbal mishap or two might turn up.

For instance, yesterday on CNN's "State of the Union with John King," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky dissed the Democratic health care overhaul bills, saying the American people don't like them either.

McConnell, Jan. 31: We know the public is overwhelmingly against the bill. In the NPR poll last week, 20-point difference. Twenty percent more oppose the bill than support it.

But McConnell rounded up rather too generously. The National Public Radio survey, done for the network by pollsters Stan Greenberg, a Democrat, and Glen Bolger, a Republican, found that 39 percent of the 800 likely voters surveyed supported the plans, while 55 percent opposed them. That's a difference of 16 percentage points, not 20. (And, by the way, a difference of 16 – or 20 – percentage points does not mean that 16 – or 20 – "percent more oppose the bill than support it.")

Meanwhile, over on NBC's "Meet the Press," John Boehner was flogging an old hobbyhorse we've encountered previously:

Boehner, Jan. 31: The president is — well, he was the most liberal member of the United States Senate.

It's true that Obama was rated most liberal in 2007 by the National Journal, but he ranked 10th and 16th most liberal the previous two years, as we've noted before. He didn't receive a ranking in 2008, presumably because he missed too many votes.