November 17, 2009
Obama's PollsBy Steve McCann
The political and media world today seems to revolve around polls. A day does not go by without us getting treated to a poll result of some sort on subjects both timely and inane. Among the mainstream media, this now substitutes news and real reporting.
Notwithstanding the fact that polling can be manipulated (and has shown to be just that numerous times), the use of these surveys has become a religious ritual within the halls of Congress and the White House, and a justification to pursue agenda items.
As a result, many point to the still-high job approval rating of President Obama as demonstrating:
1) The folks still really like him as a person,
2) as long as the results stay high, he can accomplish his agenda, and
3) the high numbers allow him to keep an iron grip on the Democrats in Congress.
So how do we understand some anomalies in the overall job approval rating of President Obama as compared to his performance (within the same polls) on the most important policy items of the day?
In reviewing three recent major polls (CNN-Opinion Research, Pew Research, AP-GFK) and to give their results even more benefit of the doubt, the three polling companies chosen use adults (not likely voters) and have normally averaged 9-12 percentage points' higher weighting for Democrats than Republicans.
The comparative results on Obama's overall job approval and handling of the most important policy items of the day are as follows:
On an overall basis, the president's job approval is 12 percentage points higher than the average of his handling of the three most important subjects for the American people.
As a politically incorrect naturalized citizen and an active participant in the 1960s civil rights movement, may I posit a question to the polling companies and potential explanation of this anomaly?
The Obama campaign successfully seized upon the unique opportunity the Americans had to elect a black president and once and for all time put an end to the racial divide in the country. Many voters, disenchanted as they were with the previous administration, actually did vote for Obama primarily on that basis.
Since the inauguration in January, the "race card" has been used numerous times by the administration, the Democrats in Congress, and their sycophants in the media to either blunt criticism or promote the leftist agenda. These entities are determined to keep white guilt from being relegated to the pages of history.
Racial intimidation is alive and well in Obama's America.
Therefore, when a pollster calls and talks to a potential respondent, how much of that person's answer to whether they approve of the job the president is doing is colored by their desire not to be seen as a racist or having a prejudiced view of Barack Obama because he is black? The inquiry as to his overall rating can be construed as a reflection of the man.
It would be far easier to honestly answer a question regarding his performance on a specific issue than one simply asking general job approval.
Obviously it would be impossible to quantify the impact this would have on the final approval number, since the specific question would never be asked and those polled would not honestly answer. But there is a reason for the dichotomy between overall job approval and specific job performance that cannot be answered by the public's theoretical infatuation with the person this late into his presidency.
Perhaps we should ignore the overall job approval rating and pay attention to the individual issues, at least to the degree we can be assured that the polling process is fair. But Obama's media claque will continue to push the significance of polls in which respondents are asked about their warm-and-fuzzies toward Obama, not their approval of what he actually is doing.