Monday, September 29, 2014

Bust a meme: President Obama's approval ratings

I can understand why Republicans want to spread a false meme that President Obama's approval numbers are tanking. Their whole goal in the midterms is to nationalize the election and ramp up the Obama derangement syndrome with their base.

But one has to wonder why some liberals are so intent on doing the same thing. Case in point: Elias Isquith at Salon. He sites polls taken recently in California and New York showing that the President's approval ratings have dropped in those blue states and then opines:
Put simply, my guess is that a growing number of liberals have decided that after nearly six years, and with no reason to believe a Democratic congress is on the horizon, Obama’s done nearly all he’ll ever do and the verdict is in. And although Obamacare seems to be a policy success, and Dodd-Frank is reportedly working better than many expected, many liberals have concluded that these balms are not enough to soothe the lingering pain of their unmet expectations.
Ahhh...the old "disappointed liberal" meme. Its interesting how that one tends to always come up right before an election. These folks are always sure that THIS TIME President Obama has finally crossed the rubicon and lost the support of his liberal "base." Isquith lays the blame this time on his decision to delay action on immigration and the fact that he's "acquiesced in the face of the U.S.war machine." Surely these polls are proof that the President has finally lost liberals.

But are they? I thought I'd take a look. The first thing I noticed is that both polls he referenced are state polls that also serve the function of polling local elections. As such, the results they report about the drop in presidential approval rating come at the same time that polling firms tend to switch from polling "registered voters" to "likely voters." Could this explain the results he's focusing on?

One way to check that is to take a look at Gallup's presidential approval polling. First, a disclaimer. A lot of people have pointed out problems with Gallup's polling and they make important critiques. But whenever a pollster consistently uses the same (however flawed) methodology while asking the same question, you can trust the trend lines, even if you don't trust the actual numbers.

With that said, President Obama's approval amongst liberal Democrats is currently at 85% and has hovered in the low 80's for over a year now. In other words, there has been NO drop as a result of his policies lately.

Overall, the President's approval rating has been remarkably steady except for surges upward at the time of his inauguration in 2009 and re-election in 2012. I'd propose that those are the only times during his tenure that the American people actually had an alternative to compare him to.

So whether its conservatives trying to twist the data to pretend like the country is turning against President Obama or liberals suggesting (once again) that he has lost "his base," they are both opinions in search of facts to back them up. Lets bust that meme, shall we?

6 comments:

  1. So whether its conservatives trying to twist the data to pretend like the country is turning against President Obama or liberals suggesting (once again) that he has lost "his base," they are both opinions in search of facts to back them up. Lets bust that meme, shall we?

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    I am so weary of these so-called liberals finding new ways in being disappointed in President Obama...and they are NOT his base..."WeThePeople" of the ObamaCoalition are his true base and we will Never abandon the President...

    one more thing....these so-called liberals and rw conservatives are two sides of the same coin!

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    1. The article states that 85% of liberals approve of the President.

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  2. After talking with a local voter, encouraging to vote in 2014. He voiced his frustration with Pres Obama. I explained to him how the Syria/ Iraq actions were justified, and he felt he understood the situation better. We need to take the time and hear and clear frustration from those who really don't do research, just believe the hype!

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  3. It would also help if the administration got its messaging act together. Obama says there's no imminent danger with ISIL. Hagel says there's imminent danger. Obama says we're not in a war with ISIL, Kerry says we're not in a war, Obama says we're in a war. This should be the easy part of Syria/Iraq actions. We know we can't count on the media for clarity, or Democrats for that matter, especially Liberals. More coordination at the top will help those of on the ground who back the President's policy.

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