Rasmussen Strikes Back
The Pollster.com average of President Obama’s approval rating is 60 percent, with only 33 percent of voters disapproving. Scott Rasmussen’s polls are way out of whack with this, giving the president only a 56-43 approval/disapproval rating. How to get taken seriously? A column in The Wall Street Journal arguing that his polls are right.
Polling data show that Mr. Obama’s approval rating is dropping and is below where George W. Bush was in an analogous period in 2001. Rasmussen Reports data shows that Mr. Obama’s net presidential approval rating — which is calculated by subtracting the number who strongly disapprove from the number who strongly approve — is just six, his lowest rating to date.
The rest of the column is a recap of Rasmussen’s other polls, which show the president’s agenda strikingly unpopular. Let’s assume that’s true, and all other polls about Obama are wrong. Why, then, are Republicans faltering in the first competitive race of 2009 — the open House seat in New York’s 20th Congressional District? Why does the Siena poll just released in that race record a 65 percent approval rating for Obama in a district where he only won 51 percent of the vote over John McCain’s 48 percent?
UPDATE: Scott Rasmussen e-mails me to say that his topline polling, the 56-43 Obama approval number, is in line with other polls.
We’ve shown the President at 56 percent to 58 percent approval for the past few days. Quinnipiac, Cook, and Newsweek all have him in the exact same range. A few firms have him in the low 60s to bring the average right about 60. Since we are polling likely voters, you would expect the numbers to be a few points lower than a survey of adults. On top of that, the trend is just about identical in our polls. Gallup shows the President down five or six points since Inauguration Day and so do we.
Still, “down five or six points” is a more moderate assessment of Obama’s popularity than appears in this column, illustrated with a cartoon of Obama hurtling down to earth.