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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Bush’s Approval Ratings: Even When They’re Going Down, They’re Going Up

These are the kinds of things the lead DR to weep and wail and gnash his teeth. Here is the graphic accompanying a very short article, “All the Presidents’ Numbers“, by Andrew Kohut and Harry Campbell, on The New York Times’ Sunday Op-Ed page. The theme of the article is that Bush is in good shape politically relative to many of his predecessors.
Ok, there’s a case to be made here but they should have been very careful to make the data in the graphic correct, since that is what most people will look at and digest. DR practically fell off his chair when he looked at the far right hand side of the graphic and saw Bush’s current approval rating pegged at 56 percent and rising.
Rising?!? Pretty much every public poll for the last month, including the Pew Research Center poll which Kohut runs and from which he got the 56 percent approval rating used in the graphic, shows Bush’s approval rating falling steadily from the levels attained right after Saddam’s capture.
It’s bad enough that the press overplays it whenever Bush gets a bounce. But couldn’t they please just report the facts–instead of asserting the exact opposite–when the data unequivocally show his approval ratings are falling? It doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

11 comments on “Bush’s Approval Ratings: Even When They’re Going Down, They’re Going Up

  1. Donaldo on

    Right-Wing lies and propaganda? Say it isn’t so! Horror of horrors! Yeah, there’s alot of angry Democrats on the rampage and it’s about time we had a common cause to rally behind. It appears that the pendulum is beginning to swing to the left, but Democrats need to stay politically engaged and become pro-active to prevent this slide into fascism.

  2. Frank on

    Sad that they had to tilt the poll to make Bush appear to be moving up in the polls. Why cant the press just report the facts. Fact is that GW is dropping in just about every poll that is taken. The trend is downward …not upward!

  3. The Fool on

    The more I think about this, the more I think this is a serious, serious SCANDAL.
    Its very difficult to believe that between Kohut, Campbell, and the NYT fact checkers, that this “mistake” is not at least partially due to anti-liberal/pro-Bush bias. This is precisely the kind of bullshit that always leads to people thinking that Republicans are much more popular than they really are. The Washington Post has been whoring for Bush on poll numbers as well.
    I’m sick of hearing people make purely the a priori argument that it is ridiculous to think that allegedly liberal papers like the New York Times would be biased against liberals. How many times do we have to get screwed before the pattern becomes clear?
    If any of you fucking weasels at the Washington Post or the New York Times reads this:
    We are sick of your shit and we are coming after you this time. No more of your bullshit like around impeachment, or Al Gore, or the Florida debacle, or Bush’s tax cuts, or the Iraq War, or WMD, or Howard Dean, or Wesley Clark, or Bush’s poll numbers.
    We will EXPOSE your asses mercilessly. Your reputations will be DESTROYED. No more Ceci Connolly’s.
    Angry? You bet your ass I’m angry. And you know what? I don’t need your fucking permission to be angry. How come you’re not angry? Answer: because you’re a bunch of fucking weasels.

  4. Phil in AZ on

    Well, if there’s one thing about Kohut, he will always be there to support the conventional wisdom. The last thing he would ever want to do is make anyone uncomfortable with his poll results. He trades on his insider status and thus has to reinforce whatever most people are saying or want to hear said, particularly those in leadership positions — who of course are Republicans.

  5. Paula on

    It’s pretty amusing this story appeared in the N.Y. Times the same day the CBS N.Y. Times poll showed Bush dropping from 60 to 50 percent in less than a month. BTW, Bush’s disapproval of 45 percent is the highest at this point in their presidencies of any president from Carter on. And it’s not even close. Clinton was at 40 percent dispproval and everyone was in the 30s.

  6. Dan Perreten on

    Thanks, Ruy, for that post. I was shocked to see Kohut’s name on that piece of pro-Bush PR. I mean, I expect nothing less than partisan spin from a lot of the “straight-news journalists” at the WaPo and the NYT (it turns out that their reporting of their own poll was much more pro-Bush than either CBS’ report or the Washington Times! — see Atrios). But I really thought Pew was one source that could be trusted. Oh well.

  7. The Fool on

    It would be nice to see a systematic comparative study of how newspaper headlines/ledes described similar poll movements for Bush v Clinton v Dean etc.
    Both the Wash Post and the NYT regularly give Bush the best possible spin on his numbers. People who work at those papers, like Richard Morin and Claudia Deane at the Post, should be ashamed of themselves.

  8. Alan on

    Why would you expect them to stick to the facts? When their data showed that Gore won Florida they crafted a headline that said the exact opposite.
    As Bartcop says, they bow down and kiss the ground for the almighty ditto-monkey dollar.

  9. Sven on

    I have a dumb question: Is there any measurable effect in the polls when the media reports a candidate is rising/falling in popularity?
    In other words, are poll ratings self-fulfilling?


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