NBC Touts Outdated Poll Showing Obama Approval Up, Downplays More Recent Figure

The NBC Nightly News on Tuesday hyped recent Gallup Daily Tracking Poll numbers from Monday showing a slight improvement in President Obama's approval/disapproval numbers after House Republicans agreed to the payroll tax cut extension compromise, even though the more recent numbers from Tuesday suggest that the numbers are now trending back in the opposite direction against Obama. (Video below)

As noted earlier in the day by NBC subsitute anchor Savannah Guthrie on the Today show, Monday's numbers had Obama for the first time in recent memory with an approval rating slightly higher than his disapproval number at 47 percent approval and 45 percent disapproval. But results released today indicate a slightly lower 46 percent approval and a somewhat higher 48 percent disapproval.

On the NBC Nightly News, correspondent Kristen Welker first touted Monday's more positive - and more outdated - numbers, even showing them on screen, before then vaguely noting that the approval number had dipped a bit by Tuesday. She did not inform viewers that the disapproval number had increased even more than the approval number had dropped.

[Update added December 28: As of Wednesday afternoon, Obama's approval number has slipped a couple more points since Tuesday down to 44 percent, while his disapproval number is still at 48 percent.]

Introducing correspondent Welker, substitute achor Lester Holt declared that the President was "getting some good news." Holt:

And from Iowa to the Hawaiian islands, where tonight President Obama is still on his family vacation, and getting some good news about his approval ratings. Our White House correspondent Kristen Welker joins us now from Honolulu.

Welker led with the more favorable outdated numbers:

Well, the White House rarely comments on poll numbers because they're so volatile, but one senior administration official admits these new numbers are good news heading into the New Year. So, taking a look at Monday's Gallup daily tracking poll numbers, 47 percent Of Americans approve of the job the President is doing, and 45 percent disapprove. That's a five-month high and consistent with multiple polls taken in December.

As if the more up to date number were merely an afterthought, she added, "Now, a new Gallup poll number came out today which actually shows a small decline," before continuing with her main focus on Obama's numbers being relatively higher than last week. Welker:

So what's driving this general uptick? Well, likely the President's recent victory in the payroll tax cut fight, the unemployment rate which finally dipped below nine percent for the first time in a long time, and a strong holiday shopping season.

But the NBC correspondent did end up pouring a bit of cold water on the notion that President Obama should be optimistic about the current numbers as she cited cautionary words from economists:

But economists warn, while there are positive signs that the economy is improving, the economy is far from healthy, and also instability in Europe could derail what's happening here. So while there are some encouraging indicators for the President, there could be some setbacks as well. As you know, Republicans have been hammering him on the campaign trail. He has to refight the payroll tax cut debate, and, of course, the unemployment rate will be key to his reelection.

Below are video and a complete transcript of the report from the Tuesday, December 27, NBC Nightly News:

LESTER HOLT: And from Iowa to the Hawaiian islands, where tonight President Obama is still on his family vacation, and getting some good news about his approval ratings. Our White House correspondent Kristen Welker joins us now from Honolulu. Kristen, good evening.

KRISTEN WELKER: Good evening to you, Lester. Well, the White House rarely comments on poll numbers because they're so volatile, but one senior administration official admits these new numbers are good news heading into the New Year. So, taking a look at Monday's Gallup daily tracking poll numbers, 47 percent Of Americans approve of the job the President is doing, and 45 percent disapprove. That's a five-month high and consistent with multiple polls taken in December. Now, a new Gallup poll number came out today which actually shows a small decline.

So what's driving this general uptick? Well, likely the President's recent victory in the payroll tax cut, fight, the unemployment rate which finally dipped below nine percent for the first time in a long time, and a strong holiday shopping season. But economists warn, while there are positive signs that the economy is improving, the economy is far from healthy, and also instability in Europe could derail what's happening here. So while there are some encouraging indicators for the President, there could be some setbacks as well. As you know, Republicans have been hammering him on the campaign trail. He has to refight the payroll tax cut debate, and, of course, the unemployment rate will be key to his reelection. Lester?