After the GOP victory in the November 2010 elections, with a net pickup of 63 House seats and 6 Senate seats, the Obama Administration has been attempting to cultivate a moderate, centrist image to regain its footing with the American public. President Obama’s deal with Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts, which would have expired on January 1, 2011, and his personnel shakeups in the White House worked to improve Obama’s standing with the public to above the critical 50% level by the end of January 2011.
However, in the past week, President Obama has now returned to the approximate level of public approval prior to the November elections, with about 45% of the public approving of his performance. The two main daily pollsters, Rasmussen Reports and Gallup, demonstrate this recent decline in approval, with Gallup measuring 45% approval/47% disapproval and Rasmussen showing 46% approval/53% disapproval. The mainstream media has yet to report upon this end to Obama’s polling resurgence, despite the lavish attention paid to the rise in ratings. Rasmussen reported on this recent slide today in its report:
The president’s Approval Index ratings have fallen nine points since Monday as the crisis in Egypt unfolds. Most of the decline comes from a fall in the number who Strongly Approve of the president’s performance (30% on Monday, 23% now). However, for the first time since mid-December, the number who Strongly Disapprove has moved back over the 40% mark for five straight days. The Strongly Disapprove total had been above 40% for most of 2010 but fell to the high-30s after the president and Senate Republicans reached a deal to extend the Bush Administration tax cuts.
The major issue commanding media coverage in the past week or so has been the ongoing protests in Egypt against President Mubarak’s regime. The inconsistent and highly publicized statements of the Administration about the crisis, from Vice President Biden asserting that Mubarak was not a dictator and shouldn’t resign to Obama’s recent demands that Mubarak “immediately” begin a transition to a new government, may have unsettled some Americans who were moving in Obama’s direction in response to his post-election centrist manoeuvrings. Unfortunately for President Obama, it appears that his Administration’s handling of the crisis may have again soured the middle 10% of the country on his leadership.
Obama’s approval rating was 47%-50% — the first time his disapproval rating has hit 50%.
Such elevated levels of disapproval for President Obama remind some of the net-negative approval ratings of his predecessor, George W. Bush, that consumed the Bush Presidency as public concern over the Iraqi war mounted. Indeed, Obamacare may end up being Barack Obama’s Iraq should the public’s views on Obamacare not reverse themselves in the near future. Before long, many national congressional Democrats and state-level Democrats may begin to resent the OBama Administration for saddling them with such a massive, unpopular policy in the lead-up to the November 2010 elections.
For Obama, it is the public’s concern with his massive comprehensive health care plan known as Obamacare that is driving up his disapproval and causing the number of his supporters to shrink. While USA Today and Gallup, along with the remainder of the establishment media, White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs and most other Democrats did push a very shaky and perhaps misleading one-day poll last week showing Obamacare improbably at 49% approval/41% disapproval, one week later this fresh, multi-day poll shows Obamacare as unpopular as ever at 50% disapproval. Several of the criticisms of the prior one-day Gallup poll are, ironically, reprinted today by USA Today in its release of the new Gallup numbers:
The poll of 1,033 adults, taken by land line and cellphone Friday through Sunday, has a margin of error of +/–4 percentage points.
Half call passage of the bill “a bad thing” and 47% “a good thing.” That differs from a one-day USA TODAY poll taken March 22 — a day after the House approved the legislation — in which a 49%-40% plurality called the bill “a good thing.”
“Any one-day poll in the immediate aftermath of a major event is likely to be subject not only to sampling error but also to very short-term effects,” says political scientist Charles Franklin of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At the time, “the news cycle was dominated by the positive side of the story, and only a little bit by the Republicans’ rebuttal to that.”
The undeniable problem for Obama and the Democrat is that a two-thirds majority of the American public simply does not believe their talking points on health care reform, making any increase in popularity unlikely and further declines probable:
Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the health care overhaul signed into law last week costs too much and expands the government’s role in health care too far, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, underscoring an uphill selling job ahead for President Obama and congressional Democrats.
Those surveyed are inclined to fear that the massive legislation will increase their costs and hurt the quality of health care their families receive, although they are more positive about its impact on the nation’s health care system overall.
There was a strong reaction against the tactics Democratic leaders used to pass the bill. A 53% majority call Democratic methods “an abuse of power;” 40% say they are appropriate.
And when asked about incidents of vandalism and threats that followed the bill’s passage, Americans are more inclined to blame Democratic political tactics than critics’ harsh rhetoric. Forty-nine percent say Democratic tactics are “a major reason” for the incidents, while 46% blame criticism by conservative commentators and 43% the criticism of Republican leaders.
As the details of the still largely-unknown Obamacare package continue to dribble out, such as the fact that the ban on insurer denials of coverage to children with preexisting conditions will not take immediately as claimed by Obama but instead 2014 and the rolling announcements of first quarter losses taken by America’s blue chip companies because of Obamacare (as epitomized by AT&T’s one billion dollar loss), it is very possible that the popularity of Obamacare will decline even further, as “continued opposition will fuel calls for repeal and dog Democrats in November’s congressional elections. The bill was enacted without a single Republican vote.”
Total Respondents 1059 1059
Total Republicans 272 [25.7%] 235 [-37, now 22.2%]
Total Democrats 355 [33.5%] 396 [+41, now 37.4%]
Total Independents 432 [40.8%] 428 [-4, now 40.4%]
Incredibly, and in what must be the intentional placing of a thumb on the scales to avoid a shocking embarrassment of its favored President and Democratic Party, CBS News took its unweighted polling sample that had an 8% partisan ID edge for Democrats (which is a realistic finding compared to other polling, see below) and then “weighted” their data to show a completely fraudulent and unrealistic 15% partisan ID edge for Democratic voters over Republican ones – adding 7.4% to the partisan ID edge for Democratic voters. Keep in mind that President Obama, at a time of record turnout for the Democratic base, a depressed GOP base and with independents breaking Obama’s way by double digits, won the 2008 election by only 7%. Yet CBS is claiming tonight that the Democrats own a full 15.2% partisan ID edge over the Republicans amongst the American people, despite the indisputable slide in Obama’s popularity, as well as that of his party, since that historic election night.
No one in the polling community, other than CBS News, deigns to claim that this 15.2% partisan edge anything other than fantasy – even senior Democratic strategist James Carville’s left wing Democracy Corps polling shows only a 7% partisan ID edge for Democratic voters [38%-31%], while NBC/WSJ shows 9% partisan ID edge for Democratic voters [32%-23%] and Fox News’s polling shows just a 3% partisan ID edge for Democratic voters [40%-37%]. Based on those three, well-respected pollsters, CBS News’s unweighted data showing a 7.8% partisan ID edge for Democratic voters [33.5%-25.7%] appears to be a reasonable sample of the actual electorate in America. For reasons known only to CBS News, they then decided to take that representative sample of the electorate and stand it on its head by essentially padding all the numbers in their polling by 7.4% in favor of President Obama and the Democratic Party by creating a fantasy-land 15.2% partisan ID edge for Democrats.
By doing this, CBS News was able to make the ridiculous claim that President Obama’s approval on the specific issue of health care is rising now:
Overall, Americans are critical of the President’s handling of health care, but his approval rating on this issue has risen in the last month. Now, 41% approve, up from 35% in February; but still more, 51%, disapprove. More people have disapproved than approved of the President’s handling of health care since November.
As shown above, CBS News claims that President Obama’s approval on health care policy has “risen” by 6% from 35% to 41% – yet their manipulation of the polling data via “weighting” actually shifted the numbers by 7.4% in President Obama’s favor, more than the alleged rise in President Obama’s health care approval. Regarding Obama’s overall approval, CBS News again claims that Obama is “up” from last month:
Americans’ rating of the overall job President Obama is up slightly from last month: 49% now approve, compared to 46% last month. President Obama’s approval rating has hovered at or slightly below 50% since December.
The 3% rise in Obama’s overall approval crowed about by CBS News, from 46% last month to 49% now, is also fully eviscerated by the intentional manipulation of the polling data engaged in by CBS News by “weighting” the partisan ID advantage to increase the Democratic advantage by 7.4%, from the unweighted 7.8% to the weighted 15.2%. Taking the unweighted data, President Obama actually lost a few points in approval this month, continuing his downward trend into the low to mid 40% range. By adding 7.4% to the partisan ID edge for Democrats, CBS News was able to obfuscate this continuing decline and actually claim that Obama’s approval was on the way “up”.
On the issue of health care reform, even with the manipulation of its data, CBS News reported that Americans oppose Obamacare by an 11 point margin, 37%-48%:
As the health care bill headed to its Sunday night vote in the House of Representatives, nearly half of Americans said they disapproved of it, while 37% approved. Among those opposed to the bill, a third strongly disapproved.
Of course, the results would look much worse if it were not for the addition of 7.4% to the Democratic partisan ID edge by CBS News’s disgraceful manipulation of its own polling data.
One possible explanation for this disgraceful behavior by the allegedly neutral CBS News is the access being provided to CBS News, and specifically to CBS anchor Katie Couric, by the leaders of the Democratic Party. Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, gave an exclusive interview to Couric over the weekend – a much sought-after interview that certainly helped CBS’s ratings. Trading access to prominent Democrats for intentional manipulation of polling data, as appears to be the case here, is serious journalistic malpractice and all objective, independent observers of American politics must immediately condemn CBS’s behavior.
One could possibly expect an avowed partisan like James Carville to engage in such misrepresentations of polling data, however, it is the allegedly neutral CBS News who has disgraced itself with its undeniable, and unforgivable, manipulation of its polling data. CBS News is trusted by millions of Americans to be an objective, neutral source for both the news of the day and polling data, and this disgraceful manipulation of its polling data, in exchange for exclusive access to Democratic leaders, surely undercuts any confidence Americans may have that CBS News is actually an objective source of information. The fact that the duty to expose CBS’s journalistic malpractice falls to a tiny centrist blog like this one is a sad commentary on the state of the American media today. Centrist and independent Americans can only hope that the rest of the establishment media investigates this undeniable manipulation of polling data by CBS News to determine if CBS did indeed rig its poll for access to White House officials.
UPDATE: CNN’s release of polling, over the same period as the CBS News sample, showing President Obama at 46%/51% approval conclusively proves that CBS News is guilty of intentional manipulation of its polling data to distort the actual preferences of the American electorate at this time. Such behavior by CBS News calls into question its status as a news organization at all. CNN’s polling:
For the first time, a CNN poll has found that a majority of Americans disapprove of President Obama’s job performance.
According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Monday, 51 percent of respondents disapprove of Obama’s job performance and 46 percent approve of it…
Obama’s approval rating has dropped steadily each month since December, when it was 54 percent. His highest approval rating in a CNN poll was 76 percent in February 2009 shortly after he took office.
In a rally against Obamacare called for only twenty four hours ago, at least 25,000 Americans have now arrived in Washington, DC to protest the potential House passage of the comprehensive health care reform package known as Obamacare. Right now, various speakers are talking to the growing crowd in front of Capitol Hill as every major highway into Washington DC remain jammed with cars, trucks and buses carrying yet more protesters to join the rally against Obamacare. Of course, the establishment media is ignoring this growing flash protest on Capitol Hill and instead only reporting on the claimed momentum of undecided votes turning in favor of Obama’s gigantic comprehensive health care plan. The President’s media allies, of course, are under-reporting the turnout for the Obamacare protest, with NBC claiming that only 2,000 are on the lawn in front of Capitol Hill, which is obviously false based on the few pictures we’ve posted here. We’ll be updating this post and creating new ones throughout the day as more Obamacare protesters arrive in DC.
President Barack Obama continues to endure a steady slide in his approval rating amongst all American adults as Gallup revealed yesterday that, for the first time in his young Presidency, more Americans disapprove of Obama’s job performance (47%) than approve (46%). Gallup, of course, has been a left-leaning pollster for many years now and, despite President Obama reaching this historical milestone of more disapproval than approval amongst all Americans, Gallup has not issued any form of article or press release regarding their own data. The chart from Gallup to the left shows the slow but steady deterioration of Obama’s approval and building disapproval since Inauguration Day.
Further, well-respected Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling (“PPP”) also now shows Obama underwater with the American people for the first time, at 47% approval and 48% disapproval amongst American registered voters. PPP’s director Tom Jensen, who it should be noted was one of the few pollsters to accurately predict Republican Scott Brown’s victory in January 2010, discussed his polling and the first net negative showing for Obama in the Gallup measure, pointing out that Obama is now losing core supporters who delivered him the Presidency:
Barack Obama dropped into negative territory in Gallup for the first time today, and I can tell you one big reason why from our polling.
Since the calendar turned to 2010 there has been a noticeable drop in Obama’s approval among people who say they voted for him in 2008. Our monthly surveys from August to December found him at anywhere from 89 to 93% approval with his original voters. Our January to March polls have shown that number down in the 83 to 85% range.
Most of Obama’s approval drop over the course of 2009 was the result of people who voted for John McCain but initially wanted to give Obama a chance shifting from approval to disapproval of him over the course of his first year. That was really no big deal for Obama and a perfectly normal thing to happen to any President once the honeymoon is over. But this drop in support he’s seeing now from his core supporters is a more troubling sign and something he’s going to need to overcome.
A final troubling trend for President Obama, who has prioritized the environment during his Administration so far with his push for “climate change” legislation, is the historical decline in Americans who prioritize environmental protection over economic growth as “for only the second time in more than two decades and the second straight year, Americans are more likely to say economic growth should take precedence over environmental protection when the two objectives conflict (53%) than to say the reverse (38%).”
Taken together, the Obama Administration’s focus on the unpopular comprehensive health care bill and the environmental measures such as cap and trade appear to be causing Obama to now lose core supporters who put him the White House in 2008. Indeed, it appears to us that the President’s overall job approval is moving down, while the support for Obamacare is moving up slightly, and the two numbers may be destined to meet somewhere in the low 40% range. As the tension builds over the Obama plan to use procedural trickery in the House (“Slaughter Solution”) and the Senate (reconciliation) to pass Obamacare, the continued move of former core Obama supporters away from the President may have an impact on the all-important vote just days from now.
PRINCETON, NJ — President Barack Obama’s job approval is the worst of his presidency to date, with 46% of Americans approving and 48% disapproving of the job he is doing as president in the latest Gallup Daily three-day average.
Obama’s approval rating has hovered around 50% since November, but in the last two days has declined to the point that slightly more Americans now disapprove than approve of his performance in office.
The new low ratings come during a week in which the White House and Democratic congressional leaders are working to convince wavering House Democrats to support healthcare reform, which they hope to pass using a series of parliamentary maneuvers in the House of Representatives and Senate.
With two days of polling completed after Thursday’s health care summit, President Barack Obama’s overall job approval fell to the lowest level of his Presidency amongst likely voters today, just 43% approval, with only 21% strongly approving of the President’s job performance. Strong disapproval of the President, conversely, has risen to a near all-time high of 43%, meaning that the President’s strong and soft supporters combined are now equal in number to his strong detractors amongst likely American voters. Overall, 55% of likely voters are either strong or soft opponents of the President as of today. The intense focus on the comprehensive health care reform package being pushed by Obama and Congressional Democrats appears to be taking a toll on the President’s support, similar to the prior low in support reached around the time of the Senate’s passage of Obamacare right before Christmas 2009:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that 22% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-three percent (43%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -21. That matches the lowest Approval Index rating yet recorded for President Obama.
The only other time the Approval Index was this low came in late December as the U.S. Senate prepared to approve its version of health care reform (see trends). Most voters continue to oppose the proposed health care plan.
The Presidential Approval Index is calculated by subtracting the number who Strongly Disapprove from the number who Strongly Approve. It is updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update). Updates are also available on Twitter and Facebook.
Overall, 43% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President’s performance. That is the lowest level of total approval yet measured for this President. Fifty-five percent (55%) disapprove. The President earns approval from 76% of Democrats while 86% of Republicans disapprove. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 38% approve and 61% disapprove. The President earns approval from 37% of men and 49% of women.
Data for these updates is collected via nightly telephone interviews and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. As a result, just two-thirds of the interviews for today’s update were collected following the President’s health-care summit. Tomorrow morning (Sunday) will be the first update based entirely upon interviews conducted after the summit.
Today’s all-time low of 43% in likely voter approval of Obama’s Presidency can perhaps be explained in part by the Obama/Democrat strategy to push ahead strongly with their Democrats-only comprehensive health care proposal in the face of universal GOP opposition. About 60% of American voters disapprove of that tactic as only 34% agree with the President that the comprehensive health care bill should move to final passage without any GOP support. The President also faces a twenty point net deficit in approval of his specific handling of the health care issue (Fox News poll:37%/56%; NYT/CBS poll: 35%/55%), and those polls were taken before the disappointing health care summit. CNN also found that a nearly three quarters (73%) of Americans want the President and Congress to either start from scratch on health care reform (48%) or stop work altogether (25%). Interestingly, CNN’s initial release on of these numbers omitted this critical finding, and CNN noted this finding only three days after the release of their numbers in the context of a preview of the already-taped Sunday show interview of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
Washington (CNN) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is dismissing Republican claims that recent polls support their opposition to the current health care proposals, countering that the real problem is that the American people don’t have a bill to judge.
“When we have a bill, which we will in a matter of days, then that is the bill that we can sell,” Pelosi told CNN’s Candy Crowley in an interview Friday. She added that the final legislation will settle differences between the House and Senate bills, and that Americans will be more supportive once the bill is released.
“I feel very confident about what’s in there,” she said.
The latest CNN/Opinion Research poll shows that nearly three quarters of respondents believe Congress should either start over on a new bill or drop health care reform altogether.
Earlier Friday, Speaker Pelosi told reporters she’s asking the Senate to “act upon” reconciliation to move forward, a legislative procedural tool that allows bills to pass with a simple majority.
Editor’s Note: Watch Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s interview with Candy Crowley on State of the Union this Sunday at 9am ET.
Further, Gallup’s daily tracking numbers released today confirm a downward slide in approval and surge in disapproval post-summit, with 49% of all adults (not likely voters as measured by the Rasmussen polling noted above) approving of the Obama Presidency while 45% disapprove. It should be noted as well that Gallup’s surveys are done during the day, while Rasmussen’s are done only in the evenings, meaning Gallup’s numbers today are only showng one day of impact from the summit, while Rasmussen’s show two days worth. Overall, the RCP (47.2%/47.1%) and Pollster.com (48.1%/46.8%, not including today’s Gallup/Rasmussen updates) averages of all Obama job approval polls show the President at about 47%-47% approval/disapproval. Finally, the overall voter approval of the health care plans before Congress stands at approximately 40%.
It could be that at times of intense focus on the Democratic plan to pass comprehensive health care reform, President Obama’s approval numbers tend to slide towards the level of public support that exists for Obamacare. Today, President Obama issued yet another Saturday message on Obamacare, keeping the public’s focus on this issue, this time imploring Americans and Congress with “lets get this done.” Considering the overall unpopularity of his comprehensive health care reform plan, and the findings of the CNN, NYT/CBS, Rasmussen, Fox and Gallup polls listed above, it appears that Americans may disagree.
UPDATE: Ed at Hotair covers the Saturday morning Obama message of “so lets get this done” on Obamacare, and notes Obama’s odd usage of Olympic spirit in support of his unpopular bill:
I … did not see this coming. But after a thousand speeches and interviews on this subject, it stands to reason that he’s running low on material. So here’s his entry, I guess, in the local junior-high “What the Olympics Mean to Me” essay contest. Hope you win those Miley Cyrus tickets, champ. For bonus fun, try to imagine the left’s reaction if Palin had touted the Games as inspiration for the Dems to, say, abandon reconciliation. Oh, those simple-minded, pandering teabaggers…
It’ll be sweet watching him back away from this hosanna to national unity next week after he gives the order to nuke the GOP’s filibuster. (One of Pelosi’s top aides claims they’re “reasonably confident” they can get a bill through the House if Reid can get 50 in the Senate.)
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows that 22% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. That is the lowest level of strong approval yet recorded for this President.
Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -19. The Approval Index has been lower only on one day during Barack Obama’s thirteen months in office. The previous low came on December 22 as the Senate was preparing to approve its version of the proposed health care legislation. The current lows come as the President is once again focusing attention on the health care legislation.
As noted above, the Obama Administration’s return to an intense focus on health care reform in the leadup to the “Health Care Summit” on February 25, 2010 appears to have halted any positive momentum from the Plouffe strategic shift and once again led Obama to fresh lows in strong supporters of his Presidency. The Obama Administration, the Democrat Party and special interest groups that support Obamacare all argue that once passed by Congress and signed by Obama, the public’s strongly negative view of Obamacare will reverse itself. As Obama’s job approval ratings have reached their lows at moments of public focus on health care reform, that theory may not be tested after all as Congress may balk at taking the last leap by passing Obamacare in final form for Obama’s signature via reconciliation in the face of strong public disapproval and GOP condemnation.