The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Hand me that Poll

Rich Galen

Thursday March 27, 2014


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  • President Barack Obama is now officially a boat anchor hanging around the necks of Democrats running for public office from east to west; from north to south and, if there is another dimension - like The Cloud - he's a hindrance there, too.

  • A bunch of polls have been released this week, all of which show that, as of now, a basic distrust of the President's abilities are baked into the American consciousness.

  • The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza cited a CNN poll yesterday when he wrote:
    Asked whether Obama can "manage the government effectively", nearly six in 10 (57 percent) say that statement didn't apply to the President.

  • Apropos because while the President is trying to show he still wears the Big Boy Pants in NATO, another question asked: Do you think leaders of other countries around the world have respect for Barack Obama?

  • 39 percent said they thought he was respected by other leaders; 57 percent said they didn't.

  • Cillizza wrote: "The worst thing that can happen to a President is to lose the confidence of the American people." These numbers suggest President Obama is teetering on that ledge.

  • Another day another poll.

  • The Associated Press released a poll that had two important nuggets - among the rest of the loess.

  • On the "Do you approve of the way of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?" question he hit a new high for disapproval at 59 percent. Only 41 percent approved.

  • Not only that, but while 14 percent "Strongly" approved, a whopping 36 percent "Strongly" disapproved.

  • Looking toward the November elections, in that same poll respondents were asked which party they would like to "win control of Congress?"

  • When the question was asked in January of this year, the answer was Democrats by a margin of 39-32. In this poll it is Republicans by 37-36.

  • Oh. There's more!

  • The highly regarded "George Washington University Battleground Poll" conducted by the Republican Tarrance Group and the Democratic firm of Lake Research Partners asked what are known as "issue handling" questions. Economy, Immigration, Budget, etc.

  • There is no issue - NO issue - on which the President cracks 50 percent approval. On the issue of the "federal budget and spending," he scored a dismal 33-63 disapproval.

  • Note to GOP candidates: Write that down.

  • Ed Goeas, in the Republican analysis of that poll, wrote:
    "The political environment [in Washington] is toxic, but what is really toxic, both in Washington and across the country, is President Barack Obama's job approval at every level."

  • He echoes Chris Cillizza in writing: "The power of President Obama to lead has dwindled to almost nothing."

  • Finally, there is a guy named Nate Silver who, during the Presidential election, managed a New York Times-affiliated website named 538 - the number of electors in the Electoral College.

  • Silver is a whiz at statistics and he demonstrated an almost supernatural capability to predict the results of the Presidential election in 2012.

  • Silver has now taken his talents to ESPN, but he has made an early prediction for the overall Senate results in November: At 60-40 shot that the GOP takes control.

  • That led the Huffington Post to post this headline: "Nate Silver Predicts GOP Senate Win; Democrats Promptly Freak Out."

  • I understand we are still a little over seven months away from the election, but as the campaigns begin to polish up their messaging, these data will weigh heavily. Every day that goes by without good news for Democrats is a day they can't get back.

  • I have been on the other side of these numbers. It is like standing at the edge of the ocean with the waves washing the sand out from under your feet. You have only two choices: Retreat up the beach or wait until you fall over.

  • These polls may not be predictive, but they begin to have a forward effect because if GOP donors sniff victory and if their Democratic counterparts detect a whiff of defeat, then the cash will flow accordingly.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Many links today: To the Cillizza column, to the CNN, AP and Battleground polls, to the Ed Goeas analysis and to the Nate Silver video.

    Also a pretty good Mullfoto of the Lincoln Memorial during Tuesday morning's snowy commute.

    -- END --

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