About Those Obama Poll Numbers

I have been watching the reports on Obama’s poll numbers concerning his first 100 days in office. It is obvious that the MSM is in the tank for this guy and will skew anything to make him look good. Even commenters here will spew all these poll numbers and act as if Obama is the king of the polls. There are several problems with the way the polling is used and the MSM is using numbers to make a strong case.

I have read that Obama’s approval rating was anywhere from 56% to 65% depending upon the poll. The higher numbers are generally used by the MSM and then when they compare the number to past presidents they use lower ones, especially when they are comparing George W. Bush. The other issue is that the MSM is using one poll to depict Obama and then using a poll from another polling company to show the others.

There is no doubt that Obama is popular among Democrats as he received a 79% approval from them. One major media omitted the among Democrats part.

Pew Research says Obama is at 63% while Bush was at 56%. Not very far apart especially considering the problem with the 2000 election. Interestingly, CNN/USA/Gallup had a poll showing Bush at 62%. This is the same Gallup poll that shows Obama at 56%. In fact, while the MSM is trying to make Obama out to be a polling giant, Gallup shows this:

April approval ratings in first year in office

  • Bush now 62%
  • Clinton, 1993 55
  • Bush, 1989 58
  • Reagan, 1981 67
  • Carter, 1977 63
  • Nixon, 1969 61

Sampling error: +/-3% pts

I don’t know why Gallup has Obama lower than the other polls but as some folks dig deeper into polls they are finding a disturbing little trend. Democrats are being polled at a much higher rate than Republicans. This means the polls are weighted toward Democrats (in one poll by a 2:1 margin). The polls do not reflect how the country is currently comprised because Republicans are underrepresented. This is how polls get skewed in order to give the results that one wants rather than what is real.

I know my liberal friends will stop by and defend the polls, will say that it is a wingnut conspiracy, and will dismiss the criticisms.

That is all well and good. I know the MSM needs Obama to be successful even if it is only on paper. They needed to come out and show that he had a larger approval rating than others (Gallup says it isn’t so) and they needed to show that they were right in getting him elected. Chrissie Matthews is not the only one who feels it is his duty to make this guy successful. Well, they can make him LOOK successful but the proof will be in what happens.

One major catastrophe, the inflation that will inevitably arrive, a nuclear Iran, North Korea, and any number of other issues, and the MSM will not be able to show it in a favorable light. Let a terrorist detonate a bomb (particularly a radioactive one) in any major city and all bets will be off. It would be terrible if that happened but wouldn’t it be ironic if after, a captive terrorist says he knew about it and would have fessed up if water boarded?

The bottom line is that one should take most of these polls with a grain of salt. I have never been a big poll watcher because the pollsters often have very different results and their sampling methods and questions are designed to get a result.

Rely on what you see and know. Are you better off? Are you making more money? Does your money go as far as it did before? Are you paying more in lesser known taxes?

Take the time to make an honest assessment of things based on your values and your judgment. You have a better understanding of your life than a pollster does.

As for Obama’s numbers. There is no doubt he remains popular. His approval rating is high or low depending upon who you ask (as it would be for any past White House occupant) and time will tell if what he is doing was good or bad.

Those of us who have seen this before know the answer and we don’t need a poll for that.


Big Dog

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9 Responses to “About Those Obama Poll Numbers”

  1. Blake says:

    Polls are like Think Tanks- everybody has one, and they say what you want them to. James Carville, or as I like to call him, Skeletor, has a saying that you can massage the numbers any way you want them. A good propagandist can do wonders with the English language, but does that make you any better off? The 13 bucks a week the big O graciously gives us might buy my wife and I a burger and fries each week, if we don’t super size. Whoopee! Now that’s some splurging.
    The plain fact is that the O is a fake, a do nothing who is in love with his own voice, and can’t wait to try and cede the law of the U.S. to the U.N.- the only place with less testicular fortitude than the White House.
    It’s beginning to look like the Government is where the intellectually challenged go to find work.
    Affirmative Action is alive and well in our government- Yay!
    Wouldn’t it be better to have intelligent people in office at this time, rather than the droolers we are stuck with right now?

  2. Adam says:

    Funny you mention relying on what you see and know. Your gut instinct seems to tell you that a poll if done correctly should show an even amount of party identity or at least line up more with what your gut also tells you is the breakdown of party identity in America. Your gut instincts are wrong and a poll of that nature would really be skewed and unscientific.

    You cannot get an accurate poll without a random sample and a random sample means you won’t always get similar party identity. If so then that would be more akin to a straw poll than any scientific poll.

    Take for instance this Fox News / Opinion Dynamics poll from Aprl 24, 2009. It has results of 375 Dems, 270 Rep, 194 Ind. Do you think Fox News is a group that would skew it’s results to make Obama look better? No. It is a random sample.

    This is not to say there aren’t ways to skew results but to say party identity margins prove a poll is skewed I think is without scientific basis.

    • Blake says:

      Perhaps not scientific basis, but common sense would say that if more Democrats are polled, the poll will reflect that bias- same for Republicans. The facts are that there are more polls that, because they are related to the MSM, their results will reflect a generally more liberal bias.
      Not all polls are skewed, but enough of them to take them with at least a grain of salt.

      • Adam says:

        Margin of error typically could give you a shift of about 6 to 8 points (+/- 3 or 4 points) between polls and you’d be hard pressed to find a poll in the same time frame from an outlet like CNN or ABC differing much beyond that 8 points to Fox if we are to suggest we don’t think Fox is biased for Dems.

        This is why websites like pollster.com often give you average of many polls over a time span because the outlets differ in results.

        The problem is you’d have to say a poll was skewed dramatically to suggest a majority of folks don’t support Obama’s job so far or that the vast majority of folks didn’t actually dislike the job Bush did.

        I don’t think folks should base their own opinion on a poll but ignoring public opinion to suggest Obama is doing a bad job simply because you loath Obama is just your common sense letting you down.

        • Blake says:

          First, I do not loathe O, but I absolutely loathe the policies- there is a difference, as we are taught in Church- Love the sinner, hate the sin.
          And then there is the fact that I have never been polled (is this a good thing, or not? don’t know)- it’s sort of like the Neilsen ratings- I wouldn’t know, except a lot of shows I liked got the axe over the years. Am I the odd one- I can’t say- too close to the forest to see the trees, but what I do know is that the polls rarely jibe with what I know from talking to people, and I talk to a lot of people- too many if you listen to my wife.

        • Big Dog says:

          I do not loathe Obama. I use my experience and education as well as lessons from history to decide. Just because I do not agree with the “majority” of people in a poll does not mean I am wrong or that I loathe Obama. Public opinion is not always correct.

          It is not a matter of ignoring public opinion. The public might think higher taxes for higher wage earners is good but that does not make it so. History and economics as well as what is happening in other countries tells us this is wrong.

          Just because I do not think he is doing a wonderful job does not mean I loathe the man (though I care for him less each day). I am like Blake, I dislike his policies. There is nothing wrong with that.

          I guess there is a difference between people who like to be led around and those who lead. I am a leader, not a follower.

    • Big Dog says:

      A random sample also has to be a representative sample in order to be accurate. If they sampled 1000 pro life people and they all said abortion was wrong then the result would be 100%. Would it represent the society at large?

    • Big Dog says:

      This Fox poll would indicate 44% D 32% R and 23% I (rounded). Is that the make up of how people identify? I don’t know.

      Also, if a sample is random but not representative then it should be normalized to get more accurate results.

      Also, I never said party identity is proof of a skewed poll. I said that over sampling one particular group will skew a poll. I also said that is what you do when you want certain results. I did not say this was the motive because I can’t read minds but this is what you do. A reputable pollster knows how to manipulate and knows how to do it right.

  3. Jean says:

    I never rely on polls.
    I use my common sense, and my knowledge of right and wrong to know whether our president has done a great job or not.
    See this, Obama?
    Not all of us are gullible!