10 July, 2011

Polling News

I said back in May that I was disturbed by how well President Barack Obama’s (D-USA) polling numbers seemed to be holding up, in spite of conflicting polls indicating that people were dissatisfied with the state of the country.

Well, his numbers have fallen back to something approaching reality now. His RealClearPolitics average now stands at 46.3/46.8. Consumer confidence is still low, and falling, now at 58.5. Remember that 90 indicates a healthy economy. Right Track/Wrong Track at RCP has fallen to 28.7/63.3. That’s a drop of 12.3 points in the spread since I last looked at this on May 31st. That is awful news for the President.

He’s been treading water for the last couple of weeks, with the approval spread being right around 0. Today it’s below 0, but tomorrow it may be above again. His all time low on that score is –6.7, back on 9/26/2010, so he’s still quite a bit above that. And I still find that depressing, disturbing, and confusing.

But there’s something else a bit curious about the numbers. And something that should give potential GOP foes the ray of hope they’ve been looking for. First, while the spread may not be falling, that appears to be a case of an increasing number of undecideds. His approval numbers are approaching all time lows for his Presidency. Better yet, his current RCP average in approval/disapproval only has 3 polls where he’s above water. All three were polls of “all adults”. The RV and LV polls all have him underwater. It’s not as good as it could be, but may finally indicate that voters are beginning to associate the failed economy with a failed Presidency.

Out of curiosity, I looked at the details for the CBS/NYT poll that is currently “friendliest” to Obama, giving him a +3 approval spread. It’s the only for which I’ve examined the details so far. Will look at the others later. The very last part of the PDF has some numbers that ought to be very disconcerting for the President, and, as I said, this is the friendliest poll out there.

q29 Compared to past Presidential elections, how would you describe your level of enthusiasm about voting in the 2012 Presidential election next year -- are you more enthusiastic than usual, less enthusiastic, or about the same as usual?

  Total % Rep % Dem % Ind %
More 27 33 24 27
Less 18 17 19 18
Same 54 50 57 54
DK/NA 1 0 0 0

  Unweighted Weighted %
Total Respondents 979    
Total Registered Voters 886 794  
Registered Voters – Republicans 257 233 29
Registered Voters – Democrats 318 285 36
Registered Voters – Independents 311 276 35



Let’s be honest here. These party affiliation numbers aren’t reasonable. And Team Obama knows they aren’t reasonable, and that has to scare the living daylights out of them. Compare CBS’s own data from the 2008 Presidential election.

No matter how you voted today, do you usually think of yourself as a:

Democrat (39%)
Republican (32%)
Independent or something else (29%)

So, CBS kept the same 7 point spread in party identification, yet increased independents by 6 points over 2008. This, despite the data in their own poll which shows that Democrats and Independents feel roughly the same about voting as they did in 2008, but Republicans are significantly more enthusiastic about voting. CBS is putting their fingers on the scale and doing their best to try to make bad news look less bad and yet still maintain some shred of journalistic integrity. They did keep the R/D spread right, but they weighted the I’s too heavily. I’s are abandoning Obama, and that’s definitely bad news for him, but it is when you couple that with an enthusiastic R base, that things get really awful. CBS tried to hide that little detail, but it’s all there for those willing to put forth a little effort.

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