Never Trust Rupert Murdoch

Today, Murdoch’s British tabloid The Sun posted:

Obama’s ratings drop 15 points

BARACK Obama’s approval ratings have nosedived by 15 points after only six days in office, according to a new poll.

The Gallup poll shows that reality is setting in for the new US President after the euphoria that greeted his inauguration last Tuesday.

But his ratings still stand at an impressive 68 per cent despite the fall.

So here are the most recent Gallup polls:

Gallup Poll. Three-day rolling average. N=approx. 1,600 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

    “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?”

    1/23-25/09 APPROVE: 67%

    1/22-24/09 APPROVE: 69%

    1/21-23/09: APPROVE: 68%

    Here’s the prior Gallup poll The Sun refers to, plus the one directly prior to it:

    USA Today/Gallup Poll. Jan. 9-11, 2009. N=1,031 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3 (for all adults).

      “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his presidential transition?”

      1/9-11/09 APPROVE: 83%

      12/12-14/08 APPROVE: 75%

      But here are bunch of other relevant polls from recent weeks:

      ABC News/Washington Post Poll.

        “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama has handled the presidential transition?”

        1/13-16/09 APPROVE: 80%

        Newsweek Poll

          “In general, do you approve or disapprove of Obama’s choices to fill cabinet-level positions in his new administration so far?”

          1/14-15/09 APPROVE: 68%

          12/3-4/08 APPROVE: 72%

          CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll.

            “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his presidential transition?”

            1/12-15/09 APPROVE: 84%

            12/19-21/08 APPROVE: 82%

            12/1-2/09 APPROVE: 79%

            CBS News/New York Times Poll.

              “From what you’ve heard or read, do you approve or disapprove of the cabinet selections Barack Obama has made so far?”

              1/11-15/09 APPROVE: 71%

              12/4-7/08 APPROVE: 72%

              AP-Gfk Poll

                “Overall, please tell me whether you approve, disapprove, or neither approve nor disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the transition to the presidency.”

                1/9-14/09 APPROVE: 74%

                12/3-8/08 APPROVE: 73%

                NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll

                  “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the transition and his preparations for becoming president?”

                  1/9-12/09 APPROVE: 71%

                  12/5-8/08 APPROVE: 73%

                  First, it’s misleading to say Obama’s approval dropped 15% since he took office considering that a Gallup poll from directly after the inauguration pegged Obama’s approval at 68%, while the most recent Gallup poll pegs his approval at 67%.  In other words–according to Gallup, who The Sun is relying on for their numbers–Obama’s aproval has remained steady since his inauguration.

                  Second, opinion polls are imperfect and highly variable depending on how they’re conducted, when they’re conducted, the size of the sample and how the sample is chosen. In fact, in some of the polls above surveys with overlapping dates produced vastly different results. For instance, an ABC News/Washington Post from January 13-16 yielded an approval rating of of 80% while a Newsweek post from January 14-15 yielded an approval rating of 68%.

                  In recent weeks, approval of Obama and the job he’s been doing has been anywhere from 67% to 84%, depending on who you ask. While it wouldn’t be inaccurate to claim that Obama’s approval is slightly lower now than it was before he took office, it’s definitely inaccurate to say he suffered a precipitous 15% drop since his inauguration.

                  It’s just not true, and if The Sun had any journalistic integrity they would have done what I did and spent 10 minutes trying to verify their absurd claims instead of just slapping up a shoddy story. 

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                  One comment

                  1. Christina · January 27, 2009

                    That is really misleading. Also the questions are different – how is he handling the transition vs how is he now as president? Those are two totally different questions. Silly Sun.

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