Matthew Sheffield has cherry-picked a small sample from people who responded to the poll referenced in his article. His lack of transparency with the sample size of 139 people; making the poll difficult to access to make it more likely that their readers will not examine the poll; and the ambiguous title “Progressives Prefer Biden to Sanders in Hypothetical 2020 Matchup, New Poll Shows”; is dubious reporting at best, and deceptive propaganda at worst.

There is no evidence to support Matthew Sheffield’s dubious claim stated directly in the title of his article; to the contrary, progressives prefer candidates like Bernie Sanders who champion populist policies that are verified with evidence-based research to value people over profit.

UPDATE: The author has update the article in response to the TYT Army. However, Sheffield has also added a new paragraph with more misleading information. See point #1 below.

Media Outlet: The Hill
CNN Author: Matthew Sheffield
Click here for the original article
Click here for the edited article

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The Facts

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#1: Matthew Sheffield has deceptively cherry-picked an extremely small sample from people who responded to the poll referenced in his article. As it stands right now, this poll is useless in showing what progressives think.

The Facts

  • The sample population from the poll referenced by Sheffield contains 1,001 people. But, the portion of the poll that Sheffield references is only 139 people. This alone creates a huge margin of error. Additionally, of those 139, 115 “Strong Liberals” voted for Biden and 105 “Strong Liberals” voted for Sanders.  This is a difference of only 10 people. Margin of error anyone?
  • In response to the TYT Army, Sheffield has edited the article by adding paragraph #3: “Biden also received greater support from Democratic respondents as a whole, receiving 76 percent of the group’s share against Trump compared to the 70 percent that the Vermont senator received.” This, too, is a small sample with 370 of 1001 people polled, yet he does not reveal that information. Moreover:
    • The 6% gap he’s quick to point out between Biden and Bernie comes with a 3.1% margin of error for the poll, which negates this difference.
    • It’s a difference of 23 people.
    • In that same portion of the 370 Democrats, 22 go for Trump when up against Biden, while 20 go for Trump when up against Sanders
    • Is Sheffield trying to reinforce his goal to make Biden the preferred candidate?
  • Sheffield misrepresents the poll when he writes that “self-identified progressives” prefer Biden. The small portion of the poll that Sheffield is referring to is those who identified as “strong liberal.” There is no option for “progressive.” Since there is no description of what the categories mean, “strong liberal” is ambiguous and, therefore, not reliable, yet Sheffield makes that leap and reports it as fact.
  • UPDATE: The author, Matthew Sheffield, has update the article in response to the TYT Army. He has now included the poll in the article. We can thank him for doing so, and also insist that he retract the rest of the points on this fact sheet.
  • Most people don’t have the time to walk through the six steps it takes to fact check Sheffield and discover that he has twisted the results of this poll.
  1. Click on the article after reading the title.
  2. Read the article.
  3. Click on the article linked inside this article (links aren’t highlighted on mobile devices so this then becomes impossible).
  4. Read that second article.
  5. Click on the poll at the very bottom of the second article.
  6. Scroll to the FAR right to find the data Sheffield is referring to, which is only 139 people that identified as “strong liberal,” not “progressive,” as Sheffield states in his article.

#2: Progressives are not the same as liberals, but mainstream media like “The Hill” and journalists like Matthew Sheffield do the bidding of establishment Democrats by conflating the two despite their distinct difference in policy positions and ideology.

The Facts


#3: One poll after another shows that progressives preferred Bernie Sanders to take on Trump in 2016, and continue to support candidates of the same ilk to take on any establishment Democrat in the primaries and Trump again in 2020. Is this why Sheffield manipulates polls to fit his establishment bias?

  1. “According to RealClear Politics data, NBC/Wall Street Journal surveys had the independent lawmaker up by an average of 9 points. CBS News/New York Times polls showed Sanders ahead by an average of 15 points.”
    1. https://www.newsweek.com/bernie-sanders-wouldve-defeated-trump-2016-says-senators-wife-1240834
    2. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_sanders-5565.html
  2. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Justice Democrat, defeated corporate Democrat Joe Crowley, a 10-term incumbent, by running on the same progressive policies as Bernie Sanders.
  3. Ayanna Pressley, a Justice Democrat,  defeated 10-term Democratic incumbent Michael Capuano for the MA-07 House seat. Sheran on progressive issues like Medicare for All, debt-free college, and environmental justice. After winning the general election, she signed on to support a select committee for a Green New Deal.

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GOAL

  • Inform The Hill’s audience of how mainstream media influences the political process
  • Encourage the author to correct the false claims in his article
  • Encourage the author to make the sources of his claims easily accessible to his readers

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