Obama the Great is fallen, is fallen … to 43 percent! (Rev. 18:2)

Today at Drudge this headline:

GALLUP: Obama Job Approval Drops to 43% …

For the 8,000th time, Obama’s approval rating has dropped to 43 percent, and the conservatives get excited about it, as though the same hasn’t happened 8,000 times before. Notice that conservatives never have headlines when Obama’s approval rate rises to 50 percent. But each time it drops to 43 percent they stage their own version of VJ Day in Times Square:


The conservatives never acknowledge the simple, obvious fact that Obama’s approval continually oscillates between about 43 percent and about 50 percent, and has been doing so for about three years. Instead, each time it oscillates back to 43 percent they imagine that Obama is in the middle of an unprecedented, catastrophic “free fall,” and that his hitting the “low” of 43 percent indicates that he’s finished and will not be re-elected and that America is saved.

Here, from a Google search, are some previous VFR entries about earlier occasions when conservative pundits announced with great excitement that Obama had falled to (gasp!) 43 percent, and predicted with assurance that he will lose in 2012:

The pumped-up Republicans continue in their “Obama is finished
Oct 18, 2011 … At 43 percent Obama is well within the traditional Democrat range of votes. His seemingly low number is not an anomaly.

Obama free fall continues
Oct 13, 2011 … Obama free fall continues. An Indian living in the West writes: I am still amazed at the fact that Obama continues to enjoy a 43 percent approval …

Scorn Not the 43 Percent Poll
Oct 19, 2011 … Scorn Not the 43 Percent Poll … Meanwhile, another entry …

Obama at 44
Oct 28, 2011 … They both have Gallup at 43 percent and CBS at 46 percent.

A new twist in Obama’s free fall
Jul 7, 2011 … How many times have I mocked those partisan Republicans who, when Obama’s approval rating is reported to be at 44 or 43 percent, shout in …

Where is Obama’s freefall of yesteryear?
Dec 23, 2011 … His approval rating is—guess, guess—it’s now at 43 percent!

The Republican folly over Obama
Sep 19, 2011 … are still describing Obama’s current and long-standing 43 percent approval …

Exciting news at Powerline!—View from the Right
Aug 12, 2011 … His approval rating is—guess, guess—it’s now at 43 percent! … eagerly declare that Obama is touching unprecedented lows, he’s plunging …

—end of initial entry—

LA writes:

On an entirely different subject, see VFR’s discussion about the difference between the VJ Day kiss and today’s approved kiss.

James R. writes:

Huzzah for our team! He’s freeeeee faaaallllin’ all the way down to 43 percent, a sign that America is turning against him! Again! Surely now Brand R will beat Brand B in the election! A little music to celebrate Obama’s free fall.

Your Drudge headline post was funny, but in my opinion your “Obama the Great is Fallen” post tops it easily.

Jewel A. writes:

I long ago gave up believing in polls. Years of working in the newspaper business with hollow reporters and hateful editors taught me one thing: Statistics are lies. All the time.

Unemployment “stuck” at 8.9 percent? BS. It’s high, very very high. They know it in the press, but the press, lackeys, dupes and former Democratic cronies and operatives spew the same lines over and over again. [LA replies: So are you saying it’s higher than 8.9, or lower?]

Since the press in this country long ago gave up on actually reporting news, they have little else to do, it seems, except for concocting these non-stories.

Obama at 43 percent? I don’t think so.

One of the things I go by when trying to gauge the public mood is what people talk about with each other in the checkout line at the super market. When people don’t talk to each other at all, or they just talk about niceties like the weather or supper and that sort of thing, it is because they aren’t interested in politics. They are interested in the things that make life interesting. When they start talking politics and every one in the line is disparaging the president, the Congress and a particular political party, you’d better believe that the president’s approval rating is much lower than 43 percent. When people feel safe to share what might otherwise be an unpopular opinion in public with complete strangers, and not surprisingly, almost everyone agrees with the opinion, well, that says more to me than any fake headline with a percentage in it.

What the press doesn’t realize is the deep rage we aren’t going to hide against them. Someday, they will make the tipping point, and it’s going to come crashing on their heads. And I won’t give a ripe damn about it, either.

LA replies:

So Jewel is saying that Obama’s real approval rate is much lower than 43 percent. Her evidence for this is that all pollsters lie “all the time,” and that people in the checkout line in the supermarket where she shops openly criticize Obama. Forgive me for saying that this doesn’t strike me as a very persuasive argument.

Robert B. writes from Minnesota:

I’m going to agree with Jewel A. on this one, though my experience is somewhat different. I live in an overwhelmingly liberal, Democratic whitopia and normally there are a lot of yard signs out on lawns proclaiming allegiance to the various Democratic candidates. This neighborhood is so liberal, that all of the Republicans know each other on a first name basis.

But not this election. There are very few Democratic signs out, and even fewer of the “Vote No” on the proposed heterosexual marriage amendment to the Minnesota constitution. Last night a friend and his wife even remarked on it. Two years ago, there were pro-Democrat signs everywhere to the point of obnoxiousness.

Also, my son and daughter, both in their twenties, note that not only are their friends very concerned about the economy, but that they are all worried about their ability ever to become employed at the rate things are going. I hear no one, not even life-long Democrats including former party functionaries, defending this administration’s actions.

As a last note, the man running against Michele Bachmann is a business owner and has stated publicly that he is against tax increases and will not vote for Nancy Pelosi if the Democrats should take back the House. Note that he was far to the right of other candidates on other issues as well.

LA replies:

It’s a truism that the former enthusiasm for Obama is not there. But that doesn’t mean that Democratic voters are not going to vote for him. In most cases, their loathing and fear of Republicans is much greater than their disappointment with Obama.

Ed H. writes:

So where are the bumper stickers? It’s 60 days till the election and Americans are not pasting their political opinions all over the back of their cars. I live in DC, the one area that has benefited from Obamanomics, and I see a few Obama-Biden stickers on BMWs driven by obese black bureaucrats and on the Toyota Priuses driven by anemic looking sexless white liberals, but that’s it. No one else. This election is more emotionally charged than 1968 or 1980, but public showings of opinions are nearly invisible. Very eerie.

LA replies:

Yes, Obama is too much of a failure for liberals to support him with enthusiastic public expressions. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t vote for him. On the other hand, maybe it does mean that, and we are going to be saved from a second Obama administration.

Personally, I don’t see America ejecting its first black president from the White House. But that’s where the cleverness of the GOP convention’s approach in general and of Clint Eastwood’s presentation in particular comes in. He de-racialized the issue (and de-sacralized Obama’s blackness) by saying, Gosh, we liked this guy, we wanted him to succeed, but it just didn’t work out. And when a man can’t do the job, you’ve got to let him go.

It’s the difference between the moderate-liberal approach and the conservative approach to a failed liberal experiment. The moderate liberal says, “I really believed in this liberal experiment, I really wanted it to succeed, but, gosh darn it, it just didn’t work out, and so we’ve got to give it up.” The conservative says, “This liberal experiment, like all liberal experiments, was an inherently terrible idea from the very start and was doomed to failure.” Given that America is a liberal country, the blunt, conservative, frankly anti-liberal approach will not sell. In order to win over the public, you have to express your allegiance to liberalism in general, even as you say that this particular liberal experiment, or this particular liberal president, is, sadly, a failure.

I do not support the GOP’s soft approach, for reasons I’ve stated repeatedly. At the same time, I can see the logic of it.

Beth M. writes:

I don’t understand why nationwide polls are worth anything at this point. Surely the results for the individual “swing states” would provide more useful information. [LA replies: Fair enough. In future entries, VFR will start considering the electoral vote.]

As far as the accuracy of the polling, I do think that a lot of liberal-minded people would find it difficult to admit to a pollster, especially a black one, that they will NOT be voting for Obama this time around. The polls don’t register levels of enthusiasm, either. I think that the youth vote might stay home this time around.

That being said, I think Obama will be re-elected by hook or by crook.

Alexis Zarkov writes:

Drudge is not up to date. The latest (8/28-8/30) Gallup poll puts Obama’s approval rating at 45 percent. That 43 percent figure comes from the Gallup 8/25-8/27 tracking poll. [LA replies: First, those are not Drudge’s figures but Gallup’s. Second, on the page at Gallup linked by Drudge [here it is again], the most recent daily Obama Job Approval rate, for 8/30 to 9/1, is 43 percent, just as Drudge and VFR reported.] Rasmussen (8/28-8/30) has him at 49 percent. Pollster.com tracks 1,797 polls using an advanced statistical methodology, and has Obama at 46.4 percent. Watch pollster, not Real Clear Politics for the most accurate tracking. Mr. Auster accurately points out that Obama’s approval rating has been volatile for two years, oscillating in a range from 42.5 to 47.75 percent.

One might reasonably ask: why are polls so volatile, and why do different polls scatter about so much? Most polls report a Margin of Error (MOE) of three percent, yet they scatter much more than that. The MOE refers to a theoretical variation one would get with perfect polling, where all the variation comes from the finite sample size, usually about a thousand. Real world polling is very different. Some polls sample all adults (Gallup), while others sample likely voters (Rasmussen). Republicans are more likely to vote than Democrats, and this causes a systematic difference—usually two percent—in the polling results. Pollsters also make adjustments to their numbers using proprietary formulas. If they get a sample with too many women, or too many Democrats, they will make adjustments in an attempt to compensate for the imbalances. The way polls reach people, (the sampling frame) differ. All these effects add to the scatter. The MOE relates only to sample size and does not include these other effects. It seems that very few people, especially conservatives, don’t understand much about polling, and don’t bother to educate themselves. [LA replies: I think that most VFR readers and most people who follow political news are familiar with the well-known and constantly referenced fact that some polls sample all adults and some sample likely voters, and with the fact that polling organizations do not use hard numbers but adjusted numbers to compensate for the different rates at which various demographic groups vote.] All that being said, the MOE isn’t even a good measure of sampling variation. I have my own formulas that allow me to deal with multiple candidates, undecideds, and calculate the win probability. Polls the press labels, “too close to call” often aren’t.

As I have said before, we are too far from the election to take any poll seriously. They will converge to the winner in mid October. [LA replies: I agree with Mr. Zarkov that the vote starts to take on a definite shape around mid-October. But we’re now two months from the election. Since early 2011, I’ve strictly avoided paying any attention to the constantly published polls on the 2012 general election with which the absurd media has deluged us. But, as I see it, once Labor Day comes, the race is on, and it’s time to start looking at the polls.]

Laura Wood writes:

I will be very surprised if Obama does not lose by a significant margin.

The lack of enthusiasm for him among die-hard liberals is striking. This is nothing like 2008.

LA replies:

I am very much interested in the views of those, such as Laura, who have a definite expectation of the outcome of the election, since I don’t.

A reader writes:

I am a pollster and I can confirm that the majority of polls reported in the MSM are biased in favor of Democrats, and that a selection effect causes even unbiased polls to receive more media attention when they favor the Democrat than when they favor the Republican. Both the national vote numbers and the approval rating numbers are manipulated and meaningless. On the other hand, polls of likely voters in swing states are both important and (mostly) methodologically sound. There are about a dozen swing states this year (other states may go either way but only in an election which isn’t close, so they would never make the difference as swing states could). The two most important are Florida and Ohio; the candidate who wins both of them has at least a 90 percent chance of winning the electoral vote, but if they split then either candidate could win in many ways. At this point I make Romney a clear favorite to win the electoral vote if the campaign proceeds “normally,” but I expect surprises.

September 3

Simon P. writes:

I think the lack of enthusiasm among Obama supporters is more than a rumor. There have been numerous news articles reporting that he can’t fill the rooms on his campaign stops. If he can’t even energize his core group of brainless supporters than he has no hope of winning the election. The problem with the approval poll numbers is that asking a liberal if he supports a black man is like asking the average person if he believes in God. The results will be predictable but a more telling statistic would be how many of them go to church every Sunday.

Terry Morris writes:

Laura Wood forsees a significant Romney victory based on a lack of enthusiasm among Democrats? Interesting.

I’m not seeing a great deal of enthusiasm among Republicans either, so the lack of enthusiasm among the electorate seems more general than party-specific to me. Which would probably tend to hurt Obama more than Romney, granted, but I don’t think that necessarily translates into a Romney victory, and certainly not a significant one.

One thing I’m very sure of is this—my State, Oklahoma, will heavily favor Romney to the tune of roughly 65-35. So Romney can count on OK’s paltry eight electoral votes.

I still predict an Obama victory. And I don’t think it will be that close, electorially speaking. I’ll happily eat my words if I’m proved wrong.

Jessica K. writes:

The predictions of a glorious Republican victory sound vaguely similar to all the confident boasts and expectations that the Supreme Court would not only deliver Obama a devastating blow, but a symbolic defeat so humiliating he’d never recover from it. On the eve of that decision, you could tell that GOP boosters such as Drudge and Lucianne could already taste sweet victory and regarded the matter as a foregone conclusion. Do you recall the weeks of crowing right-o-sphere headlines leading up to the decision? I sometimes feel like I’m the only one who remembers what the outcome was supposed to be, before it was decided we were only letting the Left think they’ve won. Perhaps this burning desire for what would largely be an empty victory flows from that sorry episode.

Who knows? Maybe the triumphalists are right this time. I still wouldn’t be surprised if, on the morning following the election, these same people are pointing and spluttering that this cannot be.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 02, 2012 04:44 PM | Send

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