The man media hate more than virtually any other living American, former Vice President Dick Cheney, is currently more popular than the woman the press have been gushing and fawning over since it first became apparent she could end up being the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
After they fall off their chairs and get over their disgust, will media members share this startling news with the citizenry, and, if so, how?
As reported by Gallup moments ago:
According to a May 29-31 Gallup Poll, 37% of Americans have a favorable view of Cheney and 34% have a favorable view of [Speaker of the House Nancy] Pelosi. Both Cheney and Pelosi are viewed unfavorably by at least half of Americans.
Can you hear the moans and groans of disappointment in newsrooms across the fruited plain?
But it gets better...or worse depending on your politics:
Pelosi's current image rating is more negative than positive by a 16 percentage point margin: 34% favorable and 50% unfavorable. Six months ago about equal percentages held favorable and unfavorable views of her.
While still negative, Cheney's image today (with 37% viewing him favorably and 54% unfavorably) is improved compared with his ratings in March of this year. At that time, only 30% viewed him favorably and 63% unfavorably, his worst ratings on balance since he was nominated as George W. Bush's vice presidential candidate in July 2000 (although his ratings were nearly as bad when previously measured in 2007).
Cheney's improved ratings are mainly due to the views of independents: the percentage viewing him favorably rose from 21% in March to 37% today. There was also a slight increase in his favorable rating from Republicans, from 64% to 70%.
Pelosi's decline since last fall is seen equally in her ratings from Republicans and independents, with little change in the views of Democrats. The percentage of Republicans viewing her favorably fell 12 points, from 21% to 9%; the same drop in favorability was seen among independents, from 37% to 25%. Sixty-two percent of Democrats now view her favorably, down just slightly from 66% in November.
Does this have a potential impact on the upcoming elections? You bet:
To the extent either one influences voters' views about the two major political parties, particularly looking ahead to the 2010 midterm elections, Cheney may be less problematic for his party than Pelosi might be for hers. He currently has a slight edge in intra-party popularity: 70% of Republicans view him favorably compared with 62% of Democrats viewing Pelosi favorably. Also, more independents view Cheney favorably than view Pelosi favorably: 37% vs. 25%.
Amazing numbers like this, that carry such portent for future elections, would garner a tremendous amount of media attention if the party on the rise began with a "D" and the party on the decline an "R".
Will media share these results despite how hard it would be for them?
Only time will tell.