CBS and NBC released new polls Wednesday night which illustrated how the public is moving against President Barack Obama on health care as his overall approval, at least in the NBC survey, fell to its lowest-ever level. But while both networks conveyed the bad news for Obama, NBC's Chuck Todd failed to point out how more now disapprove than approve of Obama's handling of health care, a devastating judgment for Obama, and CBS took time to elaborate on how “the poll also has some good news” for Obama.
“Less than half approve of the way President Obama is handling health care,” Katie Couric announced Wednesday night in reporting on the CBS News/New York Times poll,” but she saw a potential rebound ahead: “So he has some convincing to do. And that took him today to the Tar Heel State.” Chip Reid soon ran through bad news for Obama -- “69 percent of Americans say they're concerned quality of care will diminish...77 percent that their medical costs will rise” -- but then delivered some “good news for the President: 82 percent of Americans agree with him that the health care system is in need of a major overhaul” and “if there's no reform, 75 percent are concerned their costs will go up.” And “66 percent support the public option.”
On NBC, Todd damned with faint praise: “If there is one piece of good news that the White House can take from this is that he's still the most popular politician in the country. But that's part of the problem, he is now viewed as just another politician” as “this campaign for health care...has taken a serious toll.” With a matching graphic on screen, Todd recounted how the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll determined that “for the third straight month, the President's job approval rating has dropped -- from 61 percent in April, to 56 percent in June, to 53 percent now.”
Lawrence O’Donnell failed spectacularly on today’s "Morning Joe" this morning. The Democratic pundit wasn’t alone in that effort, as co-host Mika Brzezinski, and journalists Martin Savidge and Mike Barnicle all failed to correct his gaffe.
Apparently, the MSNBC political analyst is under the impression that Sarah Palin’s selection as Vice President drove down female support for the John McCain ticket – and claims that polling numbers back him up.
On Monday’s Early Show, co-host Julie Chen teased an upcoming story on Sarah Palin’s political future: "Also ahead, the always controversial Sarah Palin remains in the headlines this morning. We're going to tell you what she's now saying about her future plans as well as what she's planning to do right after she leaves office later this month."
Chen teased the story later, again labeling the Alaska Governor as controversial: "We're going to tell you where the controversial Alaska governor is headed once she leaves office." In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes cited new poll numbers: "According to a new CBS poll out this morning, Sarah Palin faces doubts, even from Republicans, about her ability to be an effective president. Less than 1 in 4 Americans think she has the ability. Among Republicans, only one-third say Palin could be effective."
Cordes went on to describe Palin’s future plans, including an upcoming speech in California: "Her appearance is almost certain to raise speculation about her political ambitions. But some say Palin hasn't done enough to change how people feel about her." After mentioning that Palin was offering to stump for Republican candidates, Cordes observed: "But a couple of Republicans running for governor this year have already appeared cool to the idea of having her in to support them."
Usually the Times team of Adam Nagourney and Megan Thee handle the poll stories, and usually Obama comes off looking great. Perhaps the switch to Zeleny and Sussman helps explains why today's off-lead poll story is less laudatory of Obama, although that might also be a recognition that his numbers aren't quite as favorable this time around.
One thing hasn't changed: The poll's pro-Democrat "weighting" continues. There were complaints in early April, the last time CBS News and the Times teamed up for a poll, that the poll's "weighting" process produced far more self-identified Democrat than Republican respondents, which would certainly tilt the paper's findings to the left.
In that last poll, NYT/CBS managed to turn a eight-point raw Democratic advantage of respondents (35%-27%) into a sixteen-point margin (39%-23%) through its mysterious weighting process. "Weighting" itself is standard polling practice, but the April gap was wide enough to draw questions of pro-Democratic favoritism.
This time around, the gap between the official number and the raw numbers is far wider.
“The honeymoon is coming to an end for President Obama,” NBC's Chuck Todd fretted Wednesday night in summarizing a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. “But,” Todd rebounded, “it's not personal. It's professional as now the public appears to be judging the President on some of his actions.” Citing “growing concern about the budget deficit and some of this government interaction into the economy on things like GM,” Todd empathized with how “Obama is now dealing with a public that is judging him more and more for the actions he's taking, and not just the promises he's made.” Underpinning that theme, NBC put “Down to Business” on screen over video of Obama walking.
Todd declared “a solid majority – 56 percent – approve of the job the President's doing,” though “that's down five points from a month ago.” Nonetheless, Todd assured NBC Nightly News viewers, “the President still is personally well-liked,” but he now must deal with how people “have raised their expectations.” As for “how much the President is taking on, the public clearly approves. 60 percent believe his focus should be on a whole range of issues at once.”
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 President Barack Obama passed his 100th day in office last week, two studies judged that the news media has given him more coverage, and more positive coverage, than his two predecessors at the same point in their terms.
Paragraphs later comes one explanation of the fawning mainstream media coverage:
The newscasts reflect reality, said Rick Kaplan, executive producer of the "CBS Evening News." He said he believed that the president has done extraordinarily well. "Everybody, including Republicans, would have to say that his first 100 days have been great," he said.
The major media aren’t waiting for the actual 100 days of the Obama administration to end before crowning him a success. The front page of Friday’s USA Today touted their poll with Gallup, using the headline "Poll: Public thinks highly of Obama." He’s only getting stronger, they claimed:
President Obama's opening months in the Oval Office have fortified his standing with the American public, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, giving him political capital for battles ahead.
As his 100th day as president approaches next Wednesday, the survey shows Obama has not only maintained robust approval ratings but also bolstered the sense that he is a strong and decisive leader who can manage the government effectively during a time of economic crisis.
It’s also worth watching how they use the "man on the street" quotes to boost his image. Here’s the third paragraph:
CNN's Lou Dobbs on Thursday night highlighted how a new poll discovered Vice President Joe Biden is presently “less popular than Vice President Cheney was in July of 2001.” Indeed, a survey of 1,500 conducted for the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press to assess where President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and Biden stand with the public as the administration's 100-day mark approaches, determined: “Only about half of Americans (51%) say they have a favorable impression of Joe Biden -- comparable to the 55% who felt favorably toward Al Gore in April 1993 and lower than the 58% favorability rating Dick Cheney received in July 2001.”
Dobbs also pointed out how President Barack Obama, at 63 percent approval, is at “the same percentage as President Carter at this stage of his presidency. But President Reagan was even more popular than either of them: 67 percent.”
Conservatives have debates over whether they should cite Rasmussen poll data because it is too divergent from other surveys. If that's the case, then why accept the new CBS/New York Times poll, which is out of step with other recent polls? Keep in mind, Rasmussen polls "likely voters," where CBS/NYT interviewed "adults." The distinction is critical. The latest CBS/NYT numbers show a very wide 42-percent gap for Obama: 66 percent approve, only 24 percent disapprove. The current average gap on Real Clear Politics is around 30 percent.
The same thing happened a few weeks before the election. The Polling Report showed Bush’s approval numbers in an October 19-22 survey were 22 percent approve, 72 percent disapprove – 11 to 14 points wider than the other polls at the time.
Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey points out the Times also touted "By contrast, just 31 percent of respondents said they had a favorable view of the Republican Party, the lowest in the 25 years the question has been asked in New York Times/CBS News polls." Are the liberals cooking the party-ID books again for these polls? Yep.
Giving a warm wind-up to President Barrack Obama's overseas trip as it comes to an end in Istanbul, NBC's Chuck Todd declared Monday that the decision to make Turkey the last stop “could prove to be one of the shrewder early moves in this young presidency.”
On CBS, anchor Katie Couric highlighted how a new CBS News/New York Times poll pegged Obama's approval at 66 percent, the highest ever in that survey the CBSNews.com online posting touted: “Obama Approval Hits New High -- 66%.” Couric also pointed out how Obama has made Americans feel better with the “wrong direction” measure for the nation falling from 89, under Bush, to 53 percent: “More than half still say we're heading the wrong way, but that's a dramatic 36-point improvement from the waning days of the Bush administration.”
Reporter Chip Reid showcased more positive poll results for Obama's trip, as “67 percent of Americans believe the President will return to the U.S. with the respect of world leaders.”
It has become almost amusing, watching how the so-called "news" media are manipulating their own polls to keep the political weather sunny for their hero. The Washington Post kicked off President Barack Obama’s European trip with the headline "Blame For Downturn Not Fixed on Obama." Of course, what was "fixed" was the poll itself.
They did the usual tricks for a more liberal sample of "public opinion" – they polled on the weekend and oversampled Democrats (36 percent Democrat, 25 percent Republican). By themselves, these things are shameless – but expected. And still that wasn’t enough of a slant. Check out the way this question was asked by the Post pollsters.
"How much of the blame do you think [fill in the blank] deserves for the country’s economic situation?" The choices were corporations, banks, consumers, the Bush team, and the Obama administration. There’s a built-in pro-Obama bias in there already: assigning blame to Obama for the current economy when he’s been in office for nine weeks just seems harsh to most people. But just because they (correctly) don’t blame him as the primary cause for our current woes, this doesn’t mean for a second that the public endorses his "solutions," as the Post suggests.
Gallup has issued two polls in the past couple of weeks showing that the reality is breaking through the non-stop, years-long propaganda blitz known properly known as the Great Global Warming Hoax (characterized by me since January 2007 as globaloney):
On March 11, the pollster told us that "Although a majority of Americans believe the seriousness of global warming is either correctly portrayed in the news or underestimated, a record-high 41% now say it is exaggerated." That's up from 30% three years ago.
On March 19, we were informed that "For the first time in Gallup's 25-year history of asking Americans about the trade-off between environmental protection and economic growth, a majority of Americans say economic growth should be given the priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent." And it's a 51-42 rout, a 27-point swing from 55-37 the other way just two years ago. Since globaloney is the main environmental justification for slowing (really stopping) economy growth, this result is a good proxy for increased rejection of the enviro kool-aid.
Now there's a third. Yesterday, Gallup told us that not only is globaloney increasing not believed and not more important than economic growth, it's the least important environmental issue we face. You have to look past its "clever" title and subhead to get to what should be the lede, but the glum news for Saturday's Earth Hour participants is there (bolds after title are mine):
“Limbaugh’s Favorable Rating: 19 Percent,” shouts the headline at the top of CBSNews.com tonight. A look, however, at the PDF of the full CBS News poll results, posted at 6:30 PM EDT Tuesday, pegs House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's favorable rating a point lower at 18 percent -- within the margin of error, but evidence Limbaugh is no less popular than the leader of congressional Democrats. (Friday's CBS Evening News highlighted President Obama's 62 percent approval level and a few other results about the bailouts, but didn't mention the Limbaugh or Pelosi numbers.)
CBSNews.com's Brian Montopoli had a news hook with Limbaugh since it was the first time the network asked about Limbaugh (at least in recent years), but his “CBS News Political Hotsheet” post failed to make the contrast with Pelosi, who stood at a mere 10 percent approval a month ago, as he used the Limbaugh finding to expound on the efficacy of the White House attacks on the radio talk show host:
Over the past few weeks, the White House has been casting right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh as the head of the Republican Party, and based on a new CBS News poll, it appears they may be onto something: According to the poll, Limbaugh’s favorable rating stands at just 19 percent, a full 43 points lower than President Obama’s.
A record-high number of Americans now believe the media are exaggerating the seriousness of global warming.
Coming weeks after President Barack Obama proposed a cap-and-trade strategy to curb supposedly harmful carbon dioxide emissions, one has to wonder how much press attention this just-released Gallup poll will garner.
After all, the numbers go quite counter to Nobel Laureate Al Gore's claims of a consensus concerning this matter:
CRITICAL UPDATE at end of post: former Clinton pollster wrote in depth about this in September 2006!
If it's unpatriotic and supposedly treasonous for conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh to want Barack Obama's policies to fail in the middle of a serious recession, is it similarly so for Democrats who wished President Bush wouldn't succeed while the nation was at war?
In August 2006, a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll asked the following of 900 registered voters:
Regardless of how you voted in the presidential election, would you say you want President Bush to succeed or not?
Here are the stunning results (h/t Patterico via NB reader Thomas Stewart):
At the top of Wednesday’s 3:00PM EST hour on MSNBC, anchor Norah O’Donnell declared: "Well, the back and forth between Rush Limbaugh and RNC Chairman Michael Steele continues. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows the GOP's approval is sinking fast, only 26% of those polled give the party a positive rating." O’Donnell spoke to Jennifer Skalka, editor of the blog Hotline On Call, and asked her about Rush: "Rush Limbaugh, today, really upped the ante, for the first time, saying he wants to challenge Barack Obama to a debate on his show...What's he doing? Is he walking into the trap that the Democrats, including President Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, set? Which is to try and anoint and make Rush Limbaugh the face of the Republican Party."
Skalka replied: "Well, you kind of get the feeling that Rush Limbaugh is enjoying being the face of the Republican Party, whether or not that hurts the chairman of the RNC and congressional Republican leaders, Rush Limbaugh is another big personality." O’Donnell followed Skalka by wondering: "But politically speaking, when we showed the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, that the party's approval ratings are 26%. And they've done polling that shows Rush Limbaugh is very unpopular with the independents. How does it hurt the Republican Party to have Rush Limbaugh as the face in many ways?"
As Obama-loving media gush and swoon while they report the new President's popularity, an inconvenient truth emerged Tuesday that seems destined to get ignored: after one month in office, George W. Bush was more popular than the current White House occupant.
Impossible, you say?
Well, before Obama stepped in front of Congress this evening, Gallup published the following:
The first clue about whose poll probably more closely reflects America's mood is the over-the-top, almost Granma-like narrative coming from Jeff Zeleny and Megan Thee-Brenan at Manhattan's Old Gray Lady, whose parent company's stock price in noontime trading today is back below the cost of its Sunday edition (bolds are mine):
A CBS News poll conducted February 2 through February 4 found that 62 percent of Americans believe that tax cuts would do more to get the country out of recession, while only 16 percent thought government spending would. However, when Evening News anchor Katie Couric touted other results from that same poll on Thursday, February 5 she managed to leave out that particular finding. That poll finding has not been mentioned in any CBS News coverage since the poll’s release on February 5.
Instead, Couric focused on the aspect of the poll that claimed that 51 percent of Americans support the so-called "stimulus" bill being pushed by the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress. In addition, later on Thursday’s Evening News, correspondent Chip Reid also cited a poll question that showed 81 percent of Americans saw President Obama as being bipartisan in the debate over the massive spending bill.
On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Chip Reid touted a new CBS News poll that portrayed Barack Obama as being more bipartisan on the current "stimulus" spending bill being debated in Congress, than Republicans: "The new CBS News poll shows 81 percent of Americans think the president is trying for bipartisanship, but less than half say congressional Republicans and Democrats are doing the same." The poll, which separated the president from his fellow Democrats in Congress, claimed 49 percent of Americans felt congressional Democrats were being bipartisan, while only 41 percent said the same of congressional Republicans.
However, those poll findings were not reported on Friday’s CBS Early Show. Perhaps because later Thursday night, speaking at a retreat for House Democrats, Obama declared: "Don't come to the table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped to create this crisis...We're not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that, for the last eight years, doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin...We can't embrace the losing formula that says only tax cuts will work for every problem we face, that ignores critical challenges like our addiction to foreign oil, or the soaring cost of health care, or failing schools and crumbling bridges and roads and levees."
New numbers are out about President Obama's performance and they show that, while most Americans favor the majority of actions he has taken, two of his more controversial decisions are highly unpopular. One of the disputed actions, the closing of the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has long been a high-profile issue the media can hardly dodge. But the other, reversing the “Mexico City” policy, has gotten little news coverage. It will be interesting to watch whether they finally report on Mexico City, or even note that Obama has made any unpopular moves.
The mainstream media is still head over heels for our new commander in chief, and he still has honeymoon popularity with the public. But according to a Feb. 1 USA Today/Gallup Poll telephone survey of 1,000 adults, only 35 percent of Americans approved of Obama's decision to overturn the Mexico City Policy, a ban on U.S. funding of overseas family planning groups that promote abortion.
CBS’s Sunday Morning celebrated the 30th anniversary of its first broadcast in 1979 with host Charles Osgood citing CBS/New York Times poll numbers to demonstrate how American attitudes have changed over the past 30 years: "The majority of us now think homosexual relations between adults aren't wrong. That's a reversal from 30 years ago. As for sexual relations before marriage, the minority who disapprove is growing smaller. More people now support the legalization of marijuana than did 30 years ago. But still short of a majority. Views on abortion have hardly changed at all."
In addition to cultural issues, Osgood also explained how Americans are now ready for socialized medicine: "On the matter of health insurance, nearly half of all Americans now want the government to provide it for all problems. That's up from just over a quarter of us in 1979." Osgood also claimed: "Just one American in eight thinks the nation is more powerful today than it was ten years ago. In 1979, it was one in five." Apparently Americans were more optimistic about American power at the end of the Jimmy Carter era than at the end of the Bush era.
At the top of the show, correspondent Rita Braver did a similar look back at the last 30 years: "Three decades of change in our culture. Our communications, our politics." At that moment, a video clip of a gay marriage ceremony appeared on screen. After describing the end of apartheid in South Africa, Braver declared: "And the social order changed in this country, too." Braver spoke with Harvard history and economics professor Niall Ferguson and asked: "It does seem that white men are no longer calling all the shots." Ferguson replied: "Well, you're asking a white man if America-" Braver interrupted: " I know that, I'm asking you to fess up."
... except that's not exactly what the poll says. Minneapolis's KSTP channel 5's headline reads "POLL: Coleman should concede." The article that follows reads,
An exclusive Survey USA poll shows nearly half of Minnesotans surveyed say its time for Republican Norm Coleman to concede the U.S. Senate race to Democrat Al Franken.
But the survey does not hold good news for Franken either.
On election night, each candidate received only 42 percent of the votes. Now it appears they're both even less popular.
Only 38 percent of Minnesotans surveyed said they view Coleman favorably. 44 percent have an unfavorable view.
Franken scored similarly with 37 percent favorable and 45 percent unfavorable.
Now what would you think "nearly half" means? 49%? 48%? What would you think of 44%? Because, as the Minnesota Independent reports, that's the percentage that actually believes Norm Coleman should concede:
On Thursday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann disputed Vice President Cheney’s recent contention that history would likely judge the Bush administration more favorably than current approval rating numbers would suggest, as the MSNBC host distorted the results of a July 2007 Rasmussen poll to discredit Cheney’s claim that views of President Ford have softened up over the 30 years since he pardoned Richard Nixon. Olbermann, who has a history of using distortion to attack conservatives, declared that Ford was the "twelfth most unpopular President of all time, even though he was only in office for 30 months."
During the show's regular "Bushed!" segment, after imitating Cheney’s voice while quoting the Vice President, Olbermann asserted:
Joe Conason's column should be as chilling to conservatives as it is meant to be comforting to liberals. His message: don't be distracted by the centrist-seeming appointments Pres.-elect Obama has made to his economic team. He remains as committed as ever to his radical agenda.
Conason's commentary appears this morning at Rasmussen Reports. Key lines [emphasis added]:
[W]hen liberals point to Summers and other members of the Obama team, crying betrayal, they misunderstand the strategy behind those appointments. The most important thing to remember about the president-elect as he prepares to govern is that he takes the long view -- and that he knows how to make a reasonable case for radical change. He has not taken one step back from the commitments he articulated during his campaign.
Now that Barack Obama has won the presidency, the poll cookers at the Associated Press have dutifully generated a barely-disguised press release for him.
A report this afternoon on the results of an AP GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media Poll is headlined "Most in AP poll confident Obama will fix economy " at Yahoo!, Google (shorter report), and the wire service's home site (all are dynamic links subject to change).
There are "only" two problems:
The underlying sample is heavily skewed towards Democrats, including strong Democrats.
Much more important, in fact crossing into downright dishonesty, the poll question asked had to do with whether respondents thought that Obama would "improve" the economy, not "fix" it.
Here are the first two paragraphs of the relatively short, unbylined report (bolds are mine to note fawning and erroneous reporting):
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen declared: "Breaking news. A new CBS poll out this morning shows the change in mood in America after Barack Obama's election." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez later touted the poll results: "A changing of the guard in Washington is changing American attitudes. A CBS News poll out this morning shows that most Americans have good feelings about Barack Obama. 71% say they're optimistic about the next four years with him as president."
Compare those poll results with those reported on the CBS Evening News on December 17, 2000 by then-anchor John Roberts, shortly after George W. Bush was elected: "A new CBS News poll out tonight shows that the majority of Americans are satisfied with the outcome of the election, though there were only five points separating them from those who weren't. When asked if Bush legitimately won the election, 53 percent said yes, compared to 40 percent who said no." Roberts also looked at one of President Bush’s first policy proposals: "A narrow majority of Americans also believe that Bush has enough public support to pass is $ 1.3 trillion tax cut...But on Capitol Hill, opinions run from lukewarm to dead set against it."