A misleading ‘Obamacare’ poll, courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce and Harris Interactive

U.S. Chamber and Harris Interactive teamed up to lie to public about Obamacare in a recent survey.  Read the story from The Washington Post below that exposes the fraud.

Here are the important points.

–The survey was not a traditional random survey of businesses.  Instead it was an opt in of 499 U.S. Chamber members (think big businesses that hate Obamacare) and 805 non-U.S. Chamber members considered to be small businesses by Harris Interactive.  But since this group was not random and we don’t know what list they were drawn from, they could have all been from the National Federation of Independent Business (the NFIB is another Obamacare-hater group).

–The U.S. Chamber released the results of this poll like this:  “Despite the Administration’s delay of the employer mandate by a year, small businesses expect the requirement to negatively impact their employees. 27% say they will cut hours to reduce full time employees, 24% will reduce hiring, and 23% plan to replace full time employees (30 hours per week or more) with part-time workers to avoid triggering the mandate.”

–The U.S. Chamber wanted the public to believe that 74% of small business owners will be cutting employee hours or not hiring because of Obamacare.  Here is a tweet from Speaker of the House John Boehner, “Study: ‘74% of small businesses will fire workers, cut hours under #Obamacare.’”

–Close analysis of the survey and the results actually show something quite different. The actual number of  “small business” owners or executives in the survey saying that they might reduce employee hours or not hire was only 4.5 to 8.5 percent.  

The Washington Post story concludes, “the Chamber of Commerce got exactly what it paid for in this poll.”  That would be the U.S. Chamber, not those of us that actually represent small businesses.


The Washington Post
July 31, 2013

A misleading ‘Obamacare’ poll, courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce and Harris Interactive

We have long warned readers about the perils of relying on data from opt-in Internet polls, especially those that make broad claims about estimating population values. We have given Pinocchios both to President Obama, for relying on an opt-in poll when he claimed that a majority of millionaires support the Buffett rule, and the National Rifle Association, for asserting that an opt-in poll reflected the views of the nation’s police.

This is a yet another case, but with a wrinkle. Here, the polling company, Harris Interactive, and the sponsor, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, presented the data in a highly misleading way — and then made false claims about the type of poll that had been conducted.

The Chamber has been a fierce opponent of the health-care law, a.k.a. Obamacare, and we frequently warn readers they should always be skeptical of polls peddled by partisan organizations. Perhaps it should be no surprise that this poll was released just as the GOP-led House of Representatives scheduled a vote to repeal the law.

Given the way the data was presented, Republican lawmakers thought they had been handed a gift — and ended up with egg on their faces.

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