Tuesday :: Apr 28, 2009

The Second Least Popular President in the History of the Universe


by eriposte

Sometimes, you just have to laugh at the thin gruel that passes off as enlightened commentary. In a post titled, "Oh, Get Real" Glenn Reynolds cites this Washington Times editorial published today, titled "Barack's in the Basement" - the thrust of which is its sub-title:

Obama is less popular than Nixon and Carter

The proof offered by the Washington Times (emphasis mine, throughout this post):

President Obama's media cheerleaders are hailing how loved he is. But at the 100-day mark of his presidency, Mr. Obama is the second-least-popular president in 40 years.

According to Gallup's April survey, Americans have a lower approval of Mr. Obama at this point than all but one president since Gallup began tracking this in 1969. The only new president less popular was Bill Clinton...Mr. Obama's current approval rating of 56 percent is only one tick higher than the 55-percent approval Mr. Clinton had during those crises.

[...]

As the attached chart shows, five presidents rated higher than Mr. Obama after 100 days in office. Ronald Reagan topped the charts in April 1981 with 67 percent approval. Following the Gipper, in order of popularity, were: Jimmy Carter with 63 percent in 1977; George W. Bush with 62 percent in 2001; Richard Nixon with 61 percent in 1969; and George H.W. Bush with 58 percent in 1989.

That particular April survey done by Gallup is on their website, accompanying an article titled "In First 100 Days, Obama Meets or Exceeds Expectations". That survey was actually conducted (jointly with USA Today) on 4/21-22 - a week before the 100 day mark. Rather than cherry pick an isolated poll like the hacks at the Washington Times, Gallup actually had the sense to also post the first quarter average rating from their regular Gallup poll and their daily tracking poll data.

In "Obama's 3-Month Report Card" that is presumably based on the Gallup poll itself (as opposed to the less frequent and separate USA Today/Gallup poll), Gallup reports that:

President Barack Obama averages a 63% approval rating for his first quarter in office -- the highest since President Jimmy Carter averaged 69% in 1977.

Here's a screenshot from their video and you can see his rating is not exactly one associated with the "second-least-popular president in 40 years":

Gallup_Apr17_Q109_ratings_comparison.jpg

Gallup also has their daily tracking poll on Obama's job approval. Based on their data from April 25-27, President Obama's rating is 63% (approval) - 31% (disapproval).

Now all these numbers are largely meaningless given how early we are in his first term, but I found it amusing that the feeble attempt to emerge from fringe-dom is based on appeals to cherry-picked data points. Let's now get ready to enjoy the latest talking point from Fox News - i.e., that Obama is the second-least popular President in the history of the universe.

eriposte :: 9:38 PM :: Comments (6) :: Digg It!