WashPost Poll Finds Obama Approval Unaffected, President 'More Focused' Than Republicans on Issues People Care About

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday's front page that their ABC-Post poll showed Obama’s approval rating remained steady, with 51 percent approving and 44 percent disapproving. Then came the Post polling comparison to uncaring Republicans. Dan Balz and Jon Cohen reported: “A bare majority of Americans say they believe that Obama is focused on issues that are important to them personally; just 33 percent think so of congressional Republicans.” They illustrated that 18-point gap with a graph.

Should we draw from this question that lying to the public and using the imposing powers of the IRS to thwart conservative groups aren’t issues that the people need to care about? Would the Post have asked this question during the Watergate scandal? Or Iran-Contra? Inside the Post, their graphics relayed that 74 percent of the sample felt the IRS targeting was “inappropriate.”'

In a bad sign of the media’s unpopularity, 52 percent felt the Justice Department’s broad seizure of AP phone records was “justified.” But get a load of the question: “As you may know, the Associated Press reported classified information about U.S. anti-terrorism efforts, and federal prosecutors have obtained AP’s phone records through a court order to try and find the source of this information. Do you think this action by federal prosecutors is or is not justified?” 

'This question not only hides any political motives of Eric Holder & Co. behind the neutral-sounding label of “federal prosecutors,” it ignores important facts. The AP only reported the information after being told the Obama people would be boasting about their anti-terrorism success the next day. The question also avoids any description of how vast the DOJ’s phone-records request was.

Liberals like Obama have complained that the media have a bad tendency to let truth and falsehood sit side by side. Well then try this poll question: “Do you think the Obama administration is honestly disclosing what it knows about what occurred in Benghazi, Libya, last fall, or is trying to cover up the facts?” Amazingly, 33 percent picked “honestly disclosing what it knows.”              

Any serious media outlet cannot avoid the hard fact that the Obama administration relayed blatantly inaccurate information about Benghazi before the election. This is like taking a poll asking “Does rain contain water?”

The Post headline over these graphs of results was “Obama weathers anti-government storm.” That’s what matters to far too many journalists: getting to the bottom of the story is less important then keeping Obama from the bottom of the polls.

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