Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Media should get it right before they make false claims about the President's polling number..

From heading the headlines you'd think that Republicans were poised to take over the government in 2010. They keep talking about 'Obama's plummeting approval ratings,' or about 'crumbling support,' or various other ways of saying the same thing.

Only that isn't true, and it hasn't been true in at least six weeks.

It is true that between about the last week of June and mid August the President dropped about eight percent in his approval rating, which had been running around 60%in most polls.

A funny thing has happened since then, however for those naysayers who only want to report on his 'declining numbers.'

The funny thing is that according to the RCP average the polls have practically not changed at all in about six weeks. On August 18, the President's approval ran at about 52.0% and his disapproval number was 41.0%. Today it was 52.5% to 40.5% approval-- no change (a half a percent move in the President's direction is not enough to be statistically significant, even in a 'poll of polls' as the RCP average is.) Moreover, the President has enjoyed at least a bare majority supporting him every single day since the start of his term. His disapproval number, which peaked at 44% a couple of weeks ago on September 13, has now dropped by a statistically significant 3.5%.

I know, I know. "President maintains a solid lead in the polls" makes for more boring news copy than "President's poll numbers drop like a rock." But if I read one more story about the President'd declining popularity I think I'm going to puke-- mainly because it is categorically not true.


sandyh said...

24/7 news is all about hysteria. Short-sighted reporting makes for more dramatic claims whether they are correct in the long-run or not. Who cares? People will just forget you were wrong.

The American press has become nothing more than an entertainment media with most people electing to watch sports and reality shows than the sensational lies and accusations the "news" channels push.

When the media is obsessed with reporting rumors and innuendos, nobody believes or cares what they say any longer. The American MSM might as well be Pravda with our citizens reacting the same way they did in the Soviet Union...ignoring all the manipulated news and hoopla except to laugh at it.

Younger generations are watching Comedy Central and reading The Onion for their news. And more often than not they are listening to their iPods and voting their economic interests...unlike their elders who ignored them for the past 35 years.

Eli Blake said...


Keep in mind that American news media are not independent anyway, they are owned by large conglomerates like Time-Warner and Disney. This means that their whole focus is on turning a profit (and if that means spending half the newscast on 'celebrity' news then so be it.)

The actual news departments are a drag on the bottom line so they are chronically understaffed and under-resourced. So not surprisingly you still see stories out like this because of news people who haven't bothered to check the polls in weeks, I guess they figure they can keep on reporting the old news until they hear from someone else otherwise.