Billy Jacobsen, the third worst blogging law professor in the U.S., displays his mad McArdle skillz in defense of his dinosaur pals.
He's unhappy with the Gallup headine "Tea Party Support Dwindles to Near Record Low," so he reimagines the hed as "Opposition to Tea Party drops to near record low." Gallup is trying to trick you sheeple, by the use of graphs which illustrate its point.
Gallup plots Tea Party support at its highest in 2010, at 32 percent, and at its lowest in 2011, at 21. Current support is 22 percent, a number immediately adjacent to the record low of 21.
Gallup plots Tea Party opposition at its highest in 2012, at 29 percent, and at its lowest in 2011, at 21. Current opposition is at 27, two percentage points from its high and six percentage points from its record low. Closer to higher than lower, and five more percentage points above its record low than TP support is. In no conceivable interpretation of the English language is Tea Party opposition near a record low. It's near its record high.
Billy's beef is that Tea Party support was actually lower in 2012 (21 percent) and then rose before falling again. Says he: "Tea Party support is significantly lower than three years ago, but about where it was two years ago. So the drop took place two years ago, not recently as the Gallup headline (picked up in the mainstream media) would have you believe."
But Tea Party support climbed to 26 percent in early 2012, and has dropped since then to 22. Thus, as Gallup correctly asserts, Tea Party support has dwindled from the last measurements, and it is now at a near-record low. The hed says nothing temporal, except the implied statement that Tea Party support was even lower in the past (when it was at the record low). There's nothing inaccurate, or misleading, about the Gallup hed.
Even PolitiFact wouldn't try to get away with Billy's bullshit.
Billy Jake also posits that if you eat dinner with four other people representing the American electorate, one diner would be a Tea Party supporter. He'll be the one playing with his food.