Obama's Scarlet Letter

Gene Schwimmer
The scarlet letter, of course, was "A," the letter Hester Prynne, the unfortunate protagonist of Hawthorne's book of the same name was forced to wear, branding her as an adulteress.  But in American politics, there's another "A," and this "A" stands for "adults."

As Rick Moran writes elsewhere on the site today, President Obama's Zogby Interactive approval rating hits a new low, 45%.  This is Obama's lowest showing to date not just on Zogby, but in any poll.

But there's another, perhaps bigger story flying under the radar if one looks at RealClearPolitics' aggregation of the several recent presidential polls.  Here are the numbers:

President Obama Job Approval

Polling Data

Poll

Date

Sample

Approve

Disapprove

Spread

RCP Average

8/11 - 8/19

--

52.0

41.8

+10.2


8/13 - 8/17

1,001 A

57.0

40.0

+17.0


8/17 - 8/19

1,547 A

51.0

42.0

+9.0


8/17 - 8/19

1,500 LV

50.0

50.0

Tie


8/15 - 8/17

805 A

51.0

40.0

+11.0


8/11 - 8/17

2,010 A

51.0

37.0

+14.0


Note, in the "Sample" column, the "A" after most of the individual entries.  The "LV" in the Rasmussen Reports row stands for "likely voters."  The "A" after the other numbers means "adults" and that's the "scarlet letter" that the Democrats need to worry about.

Usually, at least in every poll I can recall, an "all adults" voter sample polls more, sometimes much more, favorably toward the Democrats than a "likely voter" sample.  Usually, it's a descending order of Democrat favorability of "all adults," "registered voters" and "likely voters."  You can discern the patter here, in RealClearPolitics' comprehensive poll list.

But look at the above table.  Except for ABC News / Washington Post's 57% (no media bias here!), the "all adult" and "likely voter" numbers are virtually identical.

Already low among likely voters, could Obama now be losing the "all adult" cohort, too?

Let's do a little adding and dividing.  If we add Zogby's 45% to the above table and update the Rasmussen number to today's 49%, Obama's average approval of likely voters and adults becomes 50.6% (50.666666666666666666666666666666666666666% if you want to be exact).  And that's including ABC New / Washington Post's 57%, almost certainly an outlier.  Take that number out, keep Zogby's and Rasmussen's new numbers in, and Obama is below 50% (49.4%) among, well, just about everybody.

And here is where I must disagree with Rick Moran and agree with Zogby.  Yes, as the saying goes, a week or in this case, a day, can be a lifetime in politics and circumstances can change to Obama's and the Democrats' advantage.  Nevertheless, might we see the day when the conservative and moderate Democrats distance themselves from "the Messiah" as completely as Peter distanced himself from the first one?
The scarlet letter, of course, was "A," the letter Hester Prynne, the unfortunate protagonist of Hawthorne's book of the same name was forced to wear, branding her as an adulteress.  But in American politics, there's another "A," and this "A" stands for "adults."

As Rick Moran writes elsewhere on the site today, President Obama's Zogby Interactive approval rating hits a new low, 45%.  This is Obama's lowest showing to date not just on Zogby, but in any poll.

But there's another, perhaps bigger story flying under the radar if one looks at RealClearPolitics' aggregation of the several recent presidential polls.  Here are the numbers:

President Obama Job Approval

Polling Data

Poll

Date

Sample

Approve

Disapprove

Spread

RCP Average

8/11 - 8/19

--

52.0

41.8

+10.2


8/13 - 8/17

1,001 A

57.0

40.0

+17.0


8/17 - 8/19

1,547 A

51.0

42.0

+9.0


8/17 - 8/19

1,500 LV

50.0

50.0

Tie


8/15 - 8/17

805 A

51.0

40.0

+11.0


8/11 - 8/17

2,010 A

51.0

37.0

+14.0


Note, in the "Sample" column, the "A" after most of the individual entries.  The "LV" in the Rasmussen Reports row stands for "likely voters."  The "A" after the other numbers means "adults" and that's the "scarlet letter" that the Democrats need to worry about.

Usually, at least in every poll I can recall, an "all adults" voter sample polls more, sometimes much more, favorably toward the Democrats than a "likely voter" sample.  Usually, it's a descending order of Democrat favorability of "all adults," "registered voters" and "likely voters."  You can discern the patter here, in RealClearPolitics' comprehensive poll list.

But look at the above table.  Except for ABC News / Washington Post's 57% (no media bias here!), the "all adult" and "likely voter" numbers are virtually identical.

Already low among likely voters, could Obama now be losing the "all adult" cohort, too?

Let's do a little adding and dividing.  If we add Zogby's 45% to the above table and update the Rasmussen number to today's 49%, Obama's average approval of likely voters and adults becomes 50.6% (50.666666666666666666666666666666666666666% if you want to be exact).  And that's including ABC New / Washington Post's 57%, almost certainly an outlier.  Take that number out, keep Zogby's and Rasmussen's new numbers in, and Obama is below 50% (49.4%) among, well, just about everybody.

And here is where I must disagree with Rick Moran and agree with Zogby.  Yes, as the saying goes, a week or in this case, a day, can be a lifetime in politics and circumstances can change to Obama's and the Democrats' advantage.  Nevertheless, might we see the day when the conservative and moderate Democrats distance themselves from "the Messiah" as completely as Peter distanced himself from the first one?