Watch out Mr. President, they’re polling again
Posted by James McPherson on February 20, 2009
A new CNN poll shows President Obama with an approval rating of 67 percent, down 9 percent from early this month. Most of the losses came from Republicans, who apparently during the past month figured out that their side lost, that Obama isn’t a Republican, and that he wouldn’t bow to their every whim. Still, even about a third of Republicans (along with 92 percent of Democrats) still approve of the job Obama is doing–after he’s been on the job all of one month. George Bush needed a terrorism attack to get numbers that high from the other side.
Put another way, the poll numbers are essentially meaningless at this point. There are several more big issues for Obama and Congress to tackle in the coming months, and Obama’s approval rating means almost nothing for most of the next two years–and only then to other Democrats who are running for election.
What will matter is the shape of the economy, and perhaps the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some time down the road. Most Americans are willing to give the president they just elected a chance–after all, they waited out the Bush years without storming the White House, indicating a certain level of patience. What happens over the next few years, not what happens in the first 100 days of the Obama presidency, will determine whether he is later viewed as an FDR or a Hoover.
The CNN poll even shows that 60 percent of Americans approve of the just-passed stimulus bill–despite two Fox News lead story headlines today that read, “Resentment grows overpaying for others’ foreclosure misery,” and “Watch out Mr. President, because we’re mad as hell!” The latter is an opinion piece written by Dan Gainor, vice president of the Business & Media Institute, an organization you’ve probably never heard of but which has an advisory board that includes representatives of the National Taxpayers Union, the Galen Institute, and Cato Institute, the founder of TechRepublican.com along with the author of a blog titled “The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid.”
One of the highlights of that blog is a “joke of the day,” on which currently posted jokes include versions that are anti-Obama, anti-Clinton and anti-Muslim. Despite that, author Donald Luskin still manages to get far too much air time as a talking head on various networks (including Fox, but also the so-called “liberal media.” Another indication of Fox writer Gainor’s political perspective is that his own organization’s biggest ad is one urging people to “join the fight” against the Fairness Doctrine (a fictional threat, as I’ve noted here and here).
Somehow I don’t think Gainor, BMI or Fox will become fans of Obama whatever he does. Having those folks “mad as hell” should be viewed as a good thing. So would a cessation of news organizations creating news through polls, though I don’t think that’s likely, either.