“Congressional Republicans have turned to Rush Limbaugh to lead the battle against Obama. One problem: A poll says he’s less popular than Jeremiah Wright.”– Max Blumenthal

The left is trying their utmost, of late, to make Limbaugh the symbol of all Republicans, and then tear down Limbaugh to tear us all down. They are trying their hardest, with Obama fecklessly “leading” the charge, to paint a picture of Republican members of Congress groveling and scraping before Limbaugh (if only!) because they apparently, and absurdly, think that this is some strategy for getting (R) votes on (D) legislation.

The trickle-down of this so-called strategy has the left’s propaganda organs nearly daily touting new evidence of how irrelevant Rush is becoming in the age of Obama. See how clever they are? If Rush is the power of the party, and he is irrelevant, so too must be the party, and therefore you are an outsider if you agree with Limbaugh or Republicans.

One of the recent tactics is touting polling data regarding how popular El Rushbo is. Last week, Max Blumenthal took top prize in this category by assessing a poll from October, conducted by Democratic research firm Greenberg-Quinlan-Rosner, to conclude that Limbaugh is less popular than Bill Ayers or Jeremiah Wright. Can’t you just feel the left-wing glee? (If not, search Google or Technorati for the Blumenthal conclusion and witness the poll-gasms first-hand.) Titles like “Americans Prefer Terrorist to Limbaugh,” “Rush Limbaugh Less Popular Than Radical Ayers or Reverend Wright” and so on screamed across the left online.

Blumenthal’s article, titled “Rush Limbaugh Loses a Popularity Contest” (originally titled, as you can see from the URL, “America To Rush, Drop Dead”), is so much of an overreach it overreaches overreaching. As a matter of fact, despite the frenzied parroting of this now KnownFact™ across the left-o-sphere, it’s just flat false.

When you open the PDF of the report, which hilariously displays as titled MoveOn in your browser window (go figure), the section that reports on the favorability of William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, and Rush Limbaugh has three columns. Blumenthal concludes that Ayers and Wright are preferred over Limbaugh because he has a higher rating of “cold” feelings toward him, from column 1. See the image below:

As you can see, Limbaugh does produce higher “cold” feelings than the other two among all voters. So Blumenthal is right? Rush is less popular? Mmmmm, no. Look at the next image. The right-hand column:

You see, Rush also engenders more WARM feelings. So Blumenthal’s popularity claim is already looking lame. In fact, it was looking so lame apparently the pollsters emailed him, and he updated his story with this:

(As the firm points out in an email, it’s true that Wright and Ayers both had lower “warm” ratings than Limbaugh—as you’d expect for men who have virtually no constituencies.)

Ok, so now he’s been made aware, but changes not a bit the content of his story aside from this aside. Still, you think, perhaps he’s right from a certain point of view. Is it safe to say that Rush is less popular if more people dislike him, despite having more people like him? Well, no. It isn’t. And Blumenthal ought to have known this. You see, there’s a third column of data.

Heh. Look at those numbers. Here’s the page excerpt in total (click for full size):

The standard measure of likability in polling data like this is derived by calculating the spread between favorability and unfavorability. In this case, as was clearly spelled out in the data, Limbaugh is obviously more popular. Not for nothing, but the every day understanding of popularity favors Limbaugh, which Blumenthal tacitly admits when discussing the constituency sizes. Even so, under his amorphous definition of favorability as likeability, Blumenthal is clearly flat wrong.

Still, you’ll find this story cited web-wide as an indictment of the supposedly defunct right. Look, they say, Limbaugh is not liked, and Ayers is! This is the new order of things and you’d better get with the program.

The war on Limbaugh, I suspect, is just getting started. The left in this country is trying to seize an opportunity, to seize power, and they’ll use whatever Orwellian methods they have at their disposal to make you believe they are right. Even lying about publicly available polling information. Seeing which Republicans buy in to their rhetoric will be diagnostic.

– Caleb Howe

Update: I list some of the leftblogs that are propagating the lie here. Andrew Sullivan just can’t help himself, can he?