Rasmussen Poll Advances New World Order Paranoia

The Rasmussen poll has been criticized for putting a right-wing skew on its questions–a strategy that helps Scott Rasmussen garner frequent appearances on Fox News and the like, but severely diminishes its usefulness as a guide to public opinion.

The latest example of Rasmussen’s tilt is particularly tendentious: “How important is it to you that the dollar remain the currency of the United States?” the pollster asked (3/29-30/09), finding 70 percent saying it was “very important” and 88 percent saying at least “somewhat important.”

Needless to say, there are no plans to replace the dollar as the currency of the United States–what there is, however, is China’s suggestion that a new currency be created for international trading purposes, and an attempt by some on the right (notably Rep. Michele Bachmann) to scare people into thinking that the New World Order is coming to take their dollars away.

The striking thing is that Rasmussen appears to know there are no such plans. “I was really curious where the suspicion level was going to be on this particular question,” he told Talking Points Memo (4/31/09). “If the idea got around that this meant replacing the currency in your wallet,” he added, “then absolutely there would be support building for protecting the dollar.” He seems to be saying that he was testing out how people would respond to misleading scare tactics–and, in the process, furthering those scare tactics himself.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.