CBS Poll Finds Tough Numbers for Obama on Oil Leak, But Couric Hides Them

Katie Couric opened Monday's CBS Evening News by touting how “in a CBS News/New York Times poll out tonight, 43 percent of Americans approve of President Obama's handling of the spill. Only 13 percent approve of BP's efforts.” She offered no further details, such as how 47 percent disapprove of Obama's performance, and only those checking CBSNews.com would realize the selectivity in the assessment of Obama she chose to highlight.

Poll: Most Say Obama Lacks Clear Plans on the Oil Spill, Energy or Jobs” read the headline over a “Political Hotsheet” posting, which Brian Montopoli led:
Most Americans do not believe President Obama has a clear plan to deal with the oil spill in the Gulf, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll. Just 32 percent say Mr. Obama has a clear plan to deal with the oil leak, while 59 percent (including 64 percent of Gulf coast residents) say he does not.
Deeper in his post, Montopoli noted additional negative evaluations for Obama: “A majority of Americans -- 61 percent -- say the President's response to the oil spill was too slow. Just 31 percent say they have 'a lot' of confidence in his ability to handle a crisis, though a majority has at least some confidence that he can do so.”

Instead of mentioning any of that, later in the newscast she anchored from Venice, Louisiana, Couric showcased another finding which matches Obama's agenda: “More than three out of four Americans [76%] believe oil companies should be subject to more government regulations.”

The New York Times was no more eager than Couric to convey the public's disappointment in Obama. In their Monday night nytimes.com posting, “Poll Finds Deep Concern About Energy and Economy,” John M. Broder and Marjorie Connelly began with energy policy and the public's resistance to raising taxes:
Overwhelmingly, Americans think the nation needs a fundamental overhaul of its energy policies, and most expect alternative forms to replace oil as a major source within 25 years. Yet a majority are unwilling to pay higher gasoline prices to help develop new fuel sources.
In the fourth paragraph the reporting duo noted “President Obama does not fare well: 54 percent of the public say he does not have a clear plan for creating jobs” and in the sixth paragraph, without citing any numbers or specific questions, the online Times article relayed: “They are also impatient with Mr. Obama’s response to the oil disaster in the gulf, by a large margin...”   

Montopoli related some more bad numbers for Obama on other topics:
The spill isn't the only issue on which the president is seen as lacking a plan of action: Just 41 percent say Mr. Obama has a clear plan for developing new sources of energy, while 45 percent say he has no clear plan. And when it comes to creating jobs, just 34 percent say he has a clear plan; 54 percent say he does not.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center