Tuesday, December 4, 2012

PPP promotes findings of Republican fringe; glosses over poor job approval for Obama

Public Policy Polling is out with their first post - election take on the American pulse, testing everything from President Obama's job approval rating, to feelings on various political celebrities such as Nate Silver and General David Petraeus. In case you were wondering, Nate Silver's favorability rating is 12% favorable, 10% unfavorable, while 77% are unsure of either who he is or how they feel about him). In a post titled: "Republicans not handling election results well", PPP blogger Tom Jensen fails to make mention of President Obama's abysmally low 37/59% job approval rating with Independents. Not to mention the President's rating with ALL voter's is an unimpressive 50/47%. In fact, it is historically poor when compared to past presidential job approval ratings.

Take, for example, PPP's measure of how Barack Obama was doing at a similar point after his first election (albeit, a little later) in North Carolina: by a 66/25% margin, North Carolinians approved of President elect Obama's transition into office . Granted, the survey questions are different, but they both measured a level of satisfaction/dissatisfaction with Barack Obama shortly after winning a general election. Not only that, but Independent voters gave him a 65/24% approval rating in the days just before his 2009 inauguration, a very far cry from his post-2012 election rating of 37/59%.

Further evidence of Obama's sub-par post-reelection job ratings can be seen in George W. Bush's ratings in late 2004, following his 51-48% win over John Kerry (D). A 2004 Gallup poll taken December 4-8th showed newly reelected Bush with a 53/44% job approval rating. Among Indepndents, Bush was at 48% approval (remember, Obama is at 37%, per PPP). Similarly, Gallup showed newly reelected Bill Clinton with a 58-34% approval rating in a poll taken December 9-11th, 1996, 51% with Independents. Reagan was at 59% approval at a similar time after his reelection, and 61% with Independents.

You get my point.

While PPP isn't the only polling gig out there, they did well enough in their 2012 polling, per Nate Silver. And the 50/47% job rating from PPP isn't far from Pollster's average of all pollster's approval ratings, which has Obama at 51/46%. Either way, Barack Obama is performing worse in terms of job approval than either George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, or Ronald Reagan, at this point in their reelections.

And of course, what else would this blog be without some innocent poll re-weighting? For what it's worth, PPP polls "voters." I'm not sure if that means likely or registered voters, but either way, they found "voters" identifying as 44% Democrat, 32% Republican, 24% Independent, or D+12. In the election four weeks ago, voters identified as 38% Democrat, 32% Republican, and 24% Independent, or D+6. What would Barack Obama's job approval rating be if we reweighted the sample to 2012 election day turnout?

The 50/47% job approval rating becomes 46/49% had the sample looked more like 2012 turnout. While the President won in November by a larger margin than many suspected, it appears, at least initially, that he's still facing an electorate that is not particularly supportive.

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