If you have read my rantings before you know how I feel about polls, they are abused by the media and politicians alike. There are “push” polls that serve the purpose of propagandizing, there are poorly worded questions within polls that elicit inaccurate responses, there are poorly ordered questions which affect the results. An example of this would be asking a series of questions that set a tone that has an effect on the rest of them…like loading a question with “do you think the government should run your health care?” The other major abuse of polls is how the results are misinterpreted by everyone, they then become a spin tool that attempts to influence peoples opinions producing the bandwagon effect.
The Daily Kos conducts polls in a responsible way, go here if you want to know why their methodology is so much better than some others. Today, the DKos poll has President Obama at 53 favorable 42 unfavorable. Now considering that he won the election with 53% of the vote you would think that the interpretation would be that he’s maintaining his support, but is that the way the media in general is portraying his presidency? Not from what I’ve seen. They tend to ignore that result and point to others like “Right direction, Wrong direction” type questions. Currently, DKos has the country thinking 58% wrong track, 38% right track. Now pundits want to lay that all on President Obama’s doorstep, but I see it much differently. I believe a lot of that 58% are people that don’t like the gridlock in congress, caused primarily by Republicans. They probably see us on the wrong track because the two parties are on completely different tracks. A large percentage of the population really wants them to get along, come to common ground to solve problems. Putting the blame for those numbers solely on Obama is wrong. Another example of this is the opposition to the health care bill in many polls. That opposition is a combination of people who don’t want it at all and those that think it should be stronger, like single payer or a public option. Combining the two and saying, “the American people don’t want this bill” is just plain fucking wrong. Those who are for a stronger bill want a STRONGER bill, not no bill at all. When pollsters have actually teased out those numbers, it gets a much different result.
The other common meme going around surrounding polls is the idea that because President Obama was so high in the polls initially, that is the new benchmark for his popularity. That’s bullshit too. Initially, the American people rally around a new president, their patriotism plays into it and especially with our first black president, I think their was a lot of pride even with conservatives that America has come this far. That doesn’t mean that those people all of a sudden agree with him on everything, like the brain dead pundits want us to believe. It is possible to support your president but not agree with him. Look at Bush’s support right after 9/11. It’s so much more fun for the media to put someone on a pedestal and then knock them off it. This is what they have been doing to President Obama with this artificial benchmark they created.
So even though the pundits continue to beat that drum about Obama not being popular, the numbers really don’t say that and in fact, seem to say the opposite of that. I firmly believe that once his policies begin to settle in and take effect, his popularity will steadily climb and I’m sure all those wuss democrats will jump back on the Obama bandwagon and ride it to victory in November.