(From Fox News's "Special Report")
(From Fox News’s “Special Report”)

Fox News’s “Special Report” last night displayed the graphic above in a piece on Democratic candidates defying an unpopular President Obama on the campaign trail. When the graphic flashed on the screen, correspondent Carl Cameron said, “A new Democrat-leaning poll says of the 12 states most likely to decide Senate control, 60 percent disapprove of President Obama and 50 percent strongly disapprove.”

That is accurate. No correction necessary here. Which is not to say that viewers could have come away with a warped impression.

The Democracy Corps poll cited in the graphic indeed shows that 60 percent disapprove of Obama’s work as president. The 50 percent who strongly disapprove are a subset of this group.

The 60-50 graphic spends all of eight seconds on the screen, perhaps leading folks to believe that 110 percent of the American public disapproves of Obama.

As Aaron Blake’s writeup of the poll indicates, it’s a good practice to pair disapproval figures with approval figures. In this poll, Obama got a 37 percent approval rating, with 22 percent in the “strongly approve” category. A graph from the Democracy Corps poll (see right side) shows how to more cleanly present the approval/disapproval duality:


Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.