Thursday, March 12, 2009

Watching the Numbers – Obama - 37% Now Strongly Approve Performance

Rasmussendaily tracking poll showed a slight decrease in President Obama’s scorecard, losing 4 points in a week, down from 41% on March 6. Meanwhile, Congress is enjoying a “resurgence” with 18% strongly approving performance – representing an increase in the past two weeks, where it stood at 12%.

What’s in a poll? One has to question the conventional wisdom of adding “leaner’s” (those who somewhat approve or somewhat disapprove”) into the final poll numbers, as is done in all pollsters analysis. Those that are “sitting on the fence”, should be factored into separate categories; not doing so leaves a false impression that the poll subject is either doing more poorly or much better than reality dictates.

In analysis over the drop in President Obama’s strongly approve numbers, one can point to several factors that are the driving force (including those shifting from somewhat approve to strongly disapprove) behind this startling decline in favor in less than two months of taking office. The economy is a factor, there is no doubt, but it is less the economy than the reaction to the “crisis” that is a problem. The daily insistence that the economy is in dire straits and will be for some time to come, not only affects the average voter, but the forces that drive the markets. Additionally, the lack of transparency, and the continued “business as usual” in regards to pork barrel projects, has the nation up in arms. The Spending Bill, signed into law yesterday, was done so without much ado (and also without great fanfare – see Stem Cell Reversal signing to compare), and contains pork spending that has seen no equal to date. Alternately, news stories abound about the rather opulent lifestyle that is being led in the White House, while most in the nation are being told to “tighten their belts” by the main occupant.

Is it no wonder, therefore, that comparisons are being drawn to former president Jimmy Carter? – It is so not much the similarities, (although some are eerily similar), it is that Carter’s popularity among the voters dropped significantly, due to his left of center approach to governing, and the appearance that certain decisions he made were not all that swift. (For lack of better phraseology). One has to take into consideration that the majority of the country is either moderately conservative or committed conservative, leaving a scant one third that identify themselves as “liberal”. It follows that, a backlash will occur, especially in this age of impatience. Speculation on 2010 elections has begun, and pollsters will be busy - one thing that is constant in government and this Republic – is the perception that the head of a Party is responsible for each party member, and therefore, a party “brand” can become damaged, regardless of an individual Congressional office holders performance. That was true in 2006 and again in 2008, and will, in all likelihood, repeat the performance in 2010.

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