Tom Jensen over at Public Policy Polling says one of our questions was "interesting" and that he would have worded it a "little differently". Our question:
DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THE DECISION BY THE NORTH CAROLINA COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM TO REQUIRE LOCAL COMMUNITY COLLEGES TO ADMIT 18 YEAR OLD ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS AND CHARGE THEM OUT-OF-STATE TUITION RATES?
His wording, Jensen says, would have been:
"Do you think the children of illegal immigrants, who have attended North Carolina's public schools, should be able to attend the state's Community Colleges?"
Jensen's wording is a strange - if not seriously misleading - way of putting the question. After all, the policy in North Carolina has nothing whatsoever to do with whether an illegal immigrant has attended the public schools or not. The policy is that they be at least eighteen years of age, which is why we phrased it that way. If Jensen is genuinely interested in some irrelevant counterfactual, then so be it. But I think he's probably admitting that he's interested in spin. After all, most community college students have nothing to do with former public school students, rather are educating illegals -- mostly in their 20s and 30s (average age is 29).
But Jensen's right: He would have worded the question in a way that frames the issue and biases the outcome. But we already knew that's what PPP is up to most of the time. Still, if this is their only objection to the Civitas poll this month, I guess we shouldn't quibble too much.
(Ouch. I'm only just now seeing this PPP skewering from gubernatorial candidate Orr.)