60% Obama Approval? My Ass--ociated Press

Obama sycophants in the media, which means most of the media, have been trumpeting an Associated Press poll that purports a 60% approval rating for Barack Obama. And if you believe that number, I have a compound in Abbottabad I'd like to sell you.

The AP reached the 60% figure by lumping the majority of 'Undecideds' into the Obama approval column.

Typically approval polls categorize respondents into three categories: Approve; Disapprove; and Undecided.

Not the AP poll. If folks said they were undecided, the AP poll asked them which way they would lean. So, the AP's approval numbers include people who -- after flipping a coin, or channeling their dog Spot, or whatever -- said they would lean toward Approve.

Incredibly, though, the AP poll also added even those who remained undecided after that second question into the Approval column.

11% of respondents told AP pollsters originally that they had no opinion on the Obama Approve/Disapprove question. After being pressed -- it's entirely likely that some folks gave the answer they thought would be politically correct -- 6% said they would lean favorable. Add those who still were undecided even after the follow-up question, and... Voila. Obama's approval number jumps from 55% to 60%.

(Note: The vagaries of rounding will sometimes lead to slightly more, or slightly less, than 100% when totaling the poll's rounded guesses--, uh, results.)

The Associated Press further spun the results in how it reported the poll.

Here's the AP lede:

"President Barack Obama's approval rating has hit its highest point in two years - 60 percent -"

Let's look at the actual numbers. Only 1 in 3 people (32%) surveyed said they strongly approve of Obama's job performance. Up from his recent figures, but well below numbers earlier in his term. 23% said they somewhat approve of Obama's performance. Again, that's 55% approval, not 60%. And, as has been pointed out by Jim Geraghty at National Review and elsewhere, the poll was weighted to Democrat respondents by a 17% margin.

The Associated Press also spun the poll's internals. They reported:

"Comfortable majorities of the public now call Obama a strong leader who will keep America safe."

What the AP did not report:

Only 38% of the respondents said the phrase, "He is a strong leader," describes Obama very well. The poll categorizes this sort of question into incremental categories. 62% told pollsters that the description fit Obama either not well at all, slightly well, or only somewhat well.

The AP reported:

"Nearly three-fourths - 73 percent - also now say they are confident that Obama can effectively handle terrorist threats."

What the AP did not report:

Their poll shows that, again, 38% say they are very confident in the Big O on the issue. The majority of respondents, 51%, say they are not confident at all, not too confident, or only somewhat confident.

The AP reported:

"Sixty-nine percent say Obama will keep America safe."

What the AP did not report:

It's still just that same stubborn 38% who told pollsters that the phrase "he will keep the country safe" described Obama very well. And Republicans retained a narrow 43-32% lead over Democrats on which party would more likely keep the nation safe.

The AP reported:

"52 percent also now like how he's (Obama's) handling the nation's stubbornly high 9 percent unemployment."

What the AP did not report:

Their actual numbers show that less than half, 49%, either strongly approve or somewhat approve on the issue. They reach the 52% number after asking Undecideds which way they lean, adding 3%. At least on this question, though, they did not include the remaining Undecideds (1%) in the Obama column.

Even the AP admitted there were troubling results in their poll for Obama, pointing out that the Right Track/Wrong Track numbers show a majority of people think the country is headed in the wrong direction by a 52/45% margin.

The AP does not point out, however, that an even bigger majority, 59%, said that Obama is only an average or below average president. Only 43% said they either strongly approve or somewhat approve of the way he is handling the budget deficit. On immigration, the figure was 47%; on taxes 45%. And on rising gas prices, even the AP could only put those approval figures at just 31%.

Why come out with such a distorted poll now, and why has the media played it up? The Associated Press story admitted that Obama's post-Osama bump in the polls:

"... comes at an important time. He is embarking on his re-election campaign and is in the early days of a debate with Republicans who control the House over raising the country's debt limit. But it's unclear how long Obama's strengthened standing will last in the aftermath of bin Laden's death."

What is clear is that the media has also embarked on their 2012 campaign for Obama as well.

William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author