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Our Popular President

April 28, 2009

Barack’s in the basement – Washington Times:

According to Gallup’s April survey, Americans have a lower approval of Mr. Obama at this point than all but one president since Gallup began tracking this in 1969….  Ronald Reagan topped the charts in April 1981 with 67 percent approval. Following the Gipper, in order of popularity, were: Jimmy Carter with 63 percent in 1977; George W. Bush with 62 percent in 2001; Richard Nixon with 61 percent in 1969; and George H.W. Bush with 58 percent in 1989.

It’s probably more important where you finish that where you start. Bill Clinton had a rough start but ended high; GWB started high but ended low. So did Carter.

Overall though it seems that Americans are happy for the moment with President Obama. I’m torn as to whether this is a good thing. America certainly could use something to lift their spirits, and to the extent that the President has done that just by being elected, it’s a good thing.

The troubling part for me is that much of his popularity depends on an image that is in direct conflict with his behaviors and policies. In time the public will come to understand this, and then a more realistic assessment can be made.

I am not at all certain that knowing more will cause his popularity to fall. As Ross Douthat explains in today’s NYT, the idea that conservative ideas are popular and a more Cheneyesque approach would have saved us in the election is closer to fantasy than reality.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Timmy C permalink
    April 28, 2009 8:29 pm

    Funny how the Washington Times Editorial decry’s media bias but then doesn’t note that they chose to base their claim that “most presidents have been more popular than Mr. Obama” on the one and only poll that had Obama’s ranking based on the ONLY poll that had him at 56% favorable, which was the Gallup/USA Today poll.

    Ignoring:

    Gallup’s main Daily Tracking Poll: at 63% Approval
    NBC/WSJ: 61% Approval
    ABC/Wash Post Poll: at 72% Approval
    Fox/Dynamics: at 68% Approval
    Pew: 63% Approval
    Newsweek: 72% Approval

    Here is a great view of the average approval, likely the best snapshot of where he’s at now: which if you average them all, is at 62.2% approval… better than any recent President at this point back until Reagan in 1981.
    http://www.pollster.com/polls/us/jobapproval-obama.php

    But the Count is right, it is the long term trends that matter. And I’d add that this is the real trend to watch long term:

    Is Obama’s leadership and policies helping the country get on the right track, or the wrong one?

    http://www.pollster.com/polls/us/issue-rdwt.php

    • Tom permalink
      April 29, 2009 10:07 pm

      Silly Timmy- there you go using facts and logic again. Do you really believe that will actually work?

  2. Tuttle permalink
    April 29, 2009 11:51 pm

    Regarding those supposedly positive poll numbers, here are some additional FACTS:

    CBS Obama Poll Misleads

    By: Scott Wheeler

    Last week’s poll showed irrational exuberance from the American people over Obama, but a closer look actually shows the media is still hopelessly in the tank for him.

    “Mr. Obama’s overall approval rating, meanwhile, has hit a new high of 66 percent, up from 64 percent last month. His disapproval rating stands at 24 percent” boasted a press release from either CBS News or the Obama campaign, which is a difference without distinction.

    According to former ***Democratic*** pollster Patrick Caddell, “there is a problem” with the way the poll was conducted.

    “Their poll of all adults shows an extreme Democratic edge on party preference of 16 points . . . I know of no other public poll that has such an extreme partisan gap” says Caddell, once considered a star in Democratic Party circles until his insistence on honesty with the American people put him at odds with the Democrat Party leadership.

    In other words it appears The New York Times and CBS “News” cooked the poll numbers until they produced enough people who agreed with the opinions of their reporters about Obama.

    Caddell says: “the original raw sample already showed a partisan difference of 8.5 percent but “when weighting or ‘adjusting’ the numbers the partisan gap went over 16 points. In effect what they did was reduce the Republicans in the sample by 13 percent and increased the number of Democrats by 12 percent. Particularly strange was the number of Independent voters was only changed 2 percent.”

    Caddell accuses the Times and CBS of being guilty of either one of two things: “It is either terrible methodology or the Bernie Madoff school of polling. Small demographic adjustments are ordinary, but these extremes are unprecedented.”

    CBS used the same poll to proclaim, “Sixty-seven percent say world leaders respect Mr. Obama, while 18 percent say they do not respect the president.

    “That’s a sharp contrast to the response when this question was asked about Mr. Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, in July 2006: Just 30 percent then said the president is respected by the leaders of other countries.”

    “Respect” is an odd choice of words considering Obama stood on European soil that is stained with the blood of American soldiers — and apologized for American arrogance. The only apology Obama owes is the one to America for his arrogance.

    On the other hand, a Pew Research poll conducted just before the New York Times/CBS poll showed the new president in a different light: “For all of his hopes about bipartisanship, Barack Obama has the most polarized early job approval ratings of any president in the past four decades.”

    Unsurprisingly, most people didn’t hear about the Pew study; it would have been very difficult for the media so desperate to paint Obama as being adored with the reality so different.

    So now with tens of thousands of people nationwide showing their anger and frustration with Obama through the tea parties sprouting up organically, Obama is threatening the bankers who don’t want bailout funds that “I am the only thing standing between you and the pitchforks.”

  3. Tuttle permalink
    April 29, 2009 11:53 pm

    Hmmmm…..here are some more FACTS that were conveniently ignored….

    CBS Obama Poll Misleads

    By: Scott Wheeler

    Last week’s poll showed irrational exuberance from the American people over Obama, but a closer look actually shows the media is still hopelessly in the tank for him.

    “Mr. Obama’s overall approval rating, meanwhile, has hit a new high of 66 percent, up from 64 percent last month. His disapproval rating stands at 24 percent” boasted a press release from either CBS News or the Obama campaign, which is a difference without distinction.

    According to former Democratic pollster Patrick Caddell, “there is a problem” with the way the poll was conducted.

    “Their poll of all adults shows an extreme Democratic edge on party preference of 16 points . . . I know of no other public poll that has such an extreme partisan gap” says Caddell, once considered a star in Democratic Party circles until his insistence on honesty with the American people put him at odds with the Democrat Party leadership.

    In other words it appears The New York Times and CBS “News” cooked the poll numbers until they produced enough people who agreed with the opinions of their reporters about Obama.

    Caddell says: “the original raw sample already showed a partisan difference of 8.5 percent but “when weighting or ‘adjusting’ the numbers the partisan gap went over 16 points. In effect what they did was reduce the Republicans in the sample by 13 percent and increased the number of Democrats by 12 percent. Particularly strange was the number of Independent voters was only changed 2 percent.”

    Caddell accuses the Times and CBS of being guilty of either one of two things: “It is either terrible methodology or the Bernie Madoff school of polling. Small demographic adjustments are ordinary, but these extremes are unprecedented.”

    CBS used the same poll to proclaim, “Sixty-seven percent say world leaders respect Mr. Obama, while 18 percent say they do not respect the president.

    “That’s a sharp contrast to the response when this question was asked about Mr. Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, in July 2006: Just 30 percent then said the president is respected by the leaders of other countries.”

    “Respect” is an odd choice of words considering Obama stood on European soil that is stained with the blood of American soldiers — and apologized for American arrogance. The only apology Obama owes is the one to America for his arrogance.

    On the other hand, a Pew Research poll conducted just before the New York Times/CBS poll showed the new president in a different light: “For all of his hopes about bipartisanship, Barack Obama has the most polarized early job approval ratings of any president in the past four decades.”

    Unsurprisingly, most people didn’t hear about the Pew study; it would have been very difficult for the media so desperate to paint Obama as being adored with the reality so different.

    So now with tens of thousands of people nationwide showing their anger and frustration with Obama through the tea parties sprouting up organically, Obama is threatening the bankers who don’t want bailout funds that “I am the only thing standing between you and the pitchforks.”

  4. Tuttle permalink
    April 29, 2009 11:54 pm

    sorry for the double post…first one disappeared….then reappeared.

  5. Timmy C permalink
    April 30, 2009 5:55 am

    Hi Tuttle:

    Well, lots of other polls show Obama at the same (or more) approval rating as the CBS poll, but the Gallup/USA showed him at 56 was clearly the minority view of his current approal…but the WashTimes editorial acted as if that outlier was the common wisdom of them all.

    That is why the Pollster average of about 62% approval I think is the most likely average one…

    http://www.pollster.com/polls/us/jobapproval-obama.php

    Because it averages them all, it lessens the impact of “outliers” from different pollsters, either positive or negative…

  6. Timmy C permalink
    April 30, 2009 7:57 am

    Tuttle, you criticism of the CBS poll’s 16 point partisan gap weighting, got me curious also about what the actual Party ID is these days.

    Here is what seems to be the case.

    Again, this is showing the self-identified Dems, Repubs, and Independents across all polls and then showing the average trend.

    So the average of the polls looks like this:

    Republicans: about 22 percent
    Democrats: about 35-36 percent
    Independents: about 36 percent

    So the AVERAGE difference is about 13-14 points between R and D.

    That is the best guess at where we stand as of today by Party, and obviously it’s a quickly shifting map. But that is what things look like today.

    And it gels with the 5 year view from Pew broken down by regions of the US:

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