Takeaway: The Senate Commerce Committee ran a pro-big-media marketing campaign disguised as a "bipartisan poll." The message is obvious: the committee is in bed with telcos and Net Neutrality is dead.
"A new bipartisan poll released today finds that an overwhelming majority of American voters favor video choice over onerous 'Net Neutrality' regulations," shouts the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. But the same, "only 5 percent of likely voters had even heard of 'Net Neutrality.'"
So respondents knew nothing about the questions they answered. Why does the Senate care about their answers? Because this poll was not a poll. It was propaganda.
The Senate committee ran a push poll, a fake survey skewed not to measure public opinion, but to manipulate it. Before the hired survey-takers asked voters whether they wanted a law "delivering TV and video choice" or one "enhancing Net Neutrality," they briefed respondents on a bill that would let TV providers get more competitive. (They didn't mention the Net Neutrality bill.) Pollsters then asked questions like, "In your opinion, which is the MOST important reason for your Senator to vote for this legislation?"
But it gets so much worse.
The poll also asked respondents which benefits they thought they'd see from letting cable companies compete. It never mentioned whether these benefits were real; instead of suggesting "lower prices" and "higher quality programming," the poll may as well have named "magical unicorn festivals" and "everyone gets to be on the Daily Show." It's a classic priming method — instead of demonstrating actual benefits of legislation, the Committee just shows that people think there are benefits. If America ran its government like that, we'd be voting for short-sighted $200 tax returns!
This poll is brought to you by the Senate committee controlled by Ted "series of tubes" Stevens. It's not just pro-big-business, it's completely abandoned reasoned debate in favor of rhetoric. It didn't just beat supporters of free speech and a fair Internet, it kicked them in the nuts and spit in their eyes.