Obama in the 30s?

by Ryan on August 15, 2011

in Election 2012,Media Bias,Politics

According to the latest Gallup poll, President Obama’s job approval rating is down to 39% — devastating for a president seeking reelection in fifteen months.

However, there are always mitigating circumstances in these polls:  first, while a rolling three-day average, the poll was one of “adults” which is rarely reliable;  second, the margin of error is +/- 3 points possibly putting Obama at 42%;  third, there’s no breakdown of who was sampled;  finally, it’s August and I remember clearly how President Bush’s job approval numbers always fell in the summer, then kicked back up again in the Fall.

I’m not getting to excited about these results, but on the surface it is welcome — the trend is more important than the numbers at this point.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike August 15, 2011 at 8:44 am

Two of the reasons you cite for tempering your enthusiasm are actually reasons why the White House should be concerned. Yes, sampling “adults” rather than “registered voters” at this stage is less reliable; however, the reason why the “adults” sample is unreliable is because it captured unregistered voters, a bloc that favors Democrats even though they won’t actually vote.

The 3 percent margin of error is actually very small by polling standards. Besides, the chances of Obama being at 42% are just likely as him being at 36%, but that isn’t the point. The point is polling at this point is the trend, not necessarily the number. Whether Obama is at 39% or his best case scenario of 42%, I’ll take it.

Fair point about the sample though. For all we know, Gallup is trying to set up a comeback poll later on.

ETA: By the way, when I first read the headline, I thought you were talking about economic conditions of the 1930s, not polling numbers.


Sal August 15, 2011 at 7:40 pm

A third reason to temper enthusiasm: it’s Gallup. If it isn’t on our blogroll of Pollsters, then it isn’t a real poll, even if it seems to be in our favor.

Interestingly, Rasmussen has Obama’s current approval at 44% approve with 54% disapproval. An interesting number: of the 54% disapproval, 42% strongly disapprove.

So while I don’t think that things are looking good for The One, I also don’t think that a Gallup fairytale is anything to get excited about.


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