WashPost Buries Most of the Numbers Off Page One on Bad Obama Poll

Monday's Washington Post announces their new poll with ABC News with the headline "As gasoline prices rise, president's ratings fall." Reporters Dan Balz and Jon Cohen announce the bad news upfront that "a record number of Americans now give the president 'strongly' negative reviews" on the economy. But you'd have to turn inside for the real numbers, as the reporters clear their throats about the overall trends among the "steadily brightening employment picture."

The Post did note on the front page that "nearly two-thirds" of respondents disapproved of Obama's handling of gas prices (65 percent disapprove, 26 percent approve). On the Post website Monday morning, they encouraged people to read the comments, as they normally do, but with this pro-Obama commenter headline: “1,300+ comments: 'How exactly are rising gas prices Obama's fault?’”

The Post pollsters loaded their survey with that question: "Fifty percent of Americans see the Obama administration as having the power to do something about the cost of a gallon of gasoline; 45 percent say the administration has no such control."

This is how ABC and the Post relive the Jimmy Carter years. Liberals then always said gas lines and high prices were out of Carter's control. Then President Reagan came in and decontrolled oil prices and gas prices dropped dramatically.

The Post pollsters also loaded their survey by asking which party, Democrats or Republicans, "Cares more about issues that are especially important to women" -- code words for condoms and birth control pills. That was a 55-30 gap, Democrats over Republicans. They put that finding into their graphis on page A4.

Late in the story, Balz and Cohen note that although 61 percent favor the idea that "health insurance companies should cover the full cost of birth control for women," "support for complete contraceptive coverage [ahem, a MANDATE] declines when the issue of religion is factored into the decision. Asked about employers who have religious objections -- including affiliated hospitals and schools -- support is more evenly divided."

The Post headline didn't find room for the public's disapproval of Obama's handling (massive increasing) of the deficit, in paragraph number nine:  "Obama's approval rating on the deficit hit an all-time low, with a slender 32 percent giving him positive marks. Among independents, 70 percent disapprove here, also a new high." (They left out of the article that overall disapproval is 63 percent.) The Post writers seemed shocked at the pessimism:

Friday’s employment report showed a gain of 227,000 jobs in the past month, continuing an upward trend and offering the White House something positive to point to. Still, the survey — conducted Wednesday through Saturday — finds 59 percent of Americans giving Obama negative ratings on the economy, up from early last month. Now, 50 percent give him intensely low marks, the most yet in a Post-ABC News poll, and a jump of nine percentage points.

Memo to "Landslide George" Will: In the latest survey, both Republican front-runners are within the margin of error, with Romnney leading Obama 49-47 and Obama leading Santorum 49-46.  Obama's overall job approval is 46 percent, with 50 percent disapproving, which no political consultant would tell you a "landslide" is on the horizon.

Obama's numbers also sunk on foreign policy. Approval of his handling of Afghanistan is now at 46 percent approve/47 percent disapprove. Balz and Cohen added "On Iran, a slim majority now disapproves of how he is dealing with the possibility of the country obtaining nuclear weapons."

It's correct that 52 percent disapprove -- but the article left out that only 36 percent approve of Obama's handling. That's less than the 38 percent who strongly disapprove of Obama's handling of Iran.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis