September 7, 2009

By the number

Following an interesting discussion with a friend, one of the two Jewish Republicans I call that, I decided to see what the polls really say about the Obama presidency. My friend contends Obama will be vulnerable in 2012 if the poll trends continue to tank, and if we look at the data from one perspective, he may have a point.

Obama's overall approval ratings; all voters (Click on the charts for embiggened versions):

The trend my friend finds significant is quite evident. President Obama’s numbers are trending downward, but is this downward trend indicative of anything substantial? To observe a little more in depth information, lets look at the break-outs. The first chart below represents Mr. Obama’s rating with Republican voters, the one following is of Democrat voters:

Nothing much that would surprise, but the following represents independent voters. This is the trend with which Mr. Obama should find concern.

If this trend continues on the current path, it is possible that the right wing is correct, and the 2012 elections may become interesting. Some historical poll data might shed a different light. Lets take a look at Bush 43 approval trends:

Bush administration ratings were several points lower in 2004 when he was returned to office for a second term than Mr. Obama’s current numbers. If the independents continue to flee, we may see similar numbers in 2012. To try to understand if this will have any significance, let’s look at a comparison of the numbers for the past several administrations:

Mr. Obama has better approval ratings than each of his two most recent predecessors, both of whom succeeded in winning a second term. However, he is also tied with Jimmy Carter, who lost to Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Looking at every president from Truman to present, and if we exclude Kennedy, we can see the poll numbers for all but Eisenhower found their way into the tank, yet only two, Carter and Bush 41, failed to be elected to a second term. So it seems to me that reasonable folk should perhaps not make judgments based on poll numbers. If historical data can be a predictor of the future, Mr. Obama will more than likely serve two full terms.


Old NFO said...

Y'all can talk about polls all you want, but the real issue is who shows up on election day to vote! If the Dems get out the vote, they will win, if the Repubs, they will win. Polling is so much BS anyway, as you can slant a poll to give any answer you want by the way the quesitons are structured...

Mule Breath said...

In many ways that is correct, NFO, and Polls can be structured to give a desired answer based on how the question is worded. However, does not perform polls. Instead they offer a meta-analysis of polls across the spectrum. This tends to level the field and render slanted questions moot.

Your comment about who shows up making the decision is most correct.

TOTWTYTR said...

While Obama's campaign was good at getting out the vote, the Republicans have learned a lot and are applying the lessons. Sarah Palin did enormous damage to his health care plan by posting her criticism of it on her Facebook page. She, unlike most people, also read it.

This article from the Los Angeles Times doesn't bode well for Obama.

Oh, from the polls I've seen Bush was higher in the polls at this point in his first term than Obama is. However, as we all know, these polls are pretty fluid and can be skewed however the reporter wants them.

Mule Breath said...

TO, you've read my views on Palin so there is no use in discussing that point. I've no use for a doninionist in politics regardless of if they can read or not.

The most recent meta-analysis of polls shows Obama at 52% positive at the end of August. By the end of August the first year of Bush's persidency he was at about the same level or slightly higher. Around 54%. Within a few days he would rocket to 87%.

Of course 9/11 did that for him, and he showed other minor spikes following the capture of Sadam and a couple other war-related events, but overall he was sinking from begining to end.

An overview of Bush ratings show a steady decline, starting just after 9/11. He sank dramatically shortly after the 2004 election, and never recovered.

But this was not my point and you know it. Your boy was reelected in spite of his poll numbers being in the tank.

So don't hang your hat on the polls. That was the point.

Rogue Medic said...

The 2 with the best numbers were also shot. The one with the worst numbers, you even left him off of the first comparative chart because he wasn't elected, was shot at - twice.

If the Republicans run an idiot like Palin (the un-funny one - not Michael), we can hope that the loss is so severe that the clowns behind it are kicked out of the party. If they run someone intelligent, like Romney, they may win. And deserve to win.