NBC/WSJ poll shows Americans rejecting “Recovery Summer” meme

posted at 8:47 am on August 12, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Oh, those media outlets and their skewed samples!  One has to assume that the pollsters behind the new NBC/WSJ survey figured that giving a nine-point edge to Democrats in their sample (without leaners; with leaners, seven points) would buffer the bad news that was sure to come in the midst of “Recovery Summer.”  If so, they must have been mightily disappointed:

Underpinning the gloom: Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the economy has yet to hit bottom, a sharply higher percentage than the 53% who felt that way in January.

The sour national mood appears all-encompassing and is dragging down ratings for the GOP too, suggesting voters above all are disenchanted with the political establishment in Washington. Just 24% express positive feelings about the Republican Party, a new low in the 21-year history of the Journal’s survey. Democrats are only slightly more popular, but also near an all-time low.

The results likely foreshadow a poor showing in November’s mid-term for Democrats, whose leaders had hoped the public would grow more optimistic about the economy and, as a result, more supportive of the party agenda. Now, despite the weak Republican numbers, the survey shows frustrated voters on the left are less interested than impassioned voters on the right to in the election.

Gee, do you think that the negative feelings towards the GOP might have something to do with overpolling Democrats?  Barack Obama won the popular vote in 2008 with just a seven-point margin, and yet the partisan split in this poll without leaners is 30/21 for Democrats, with 42% identifying as independents.  That’s an absurd sample; it doesn’t even match the electorate in November 2008, let alone the electorate of mid-2010. The GOP scores above its sample in the survey by three points, and the Democrats also score above its sample by three points.

Here’s a fun gauge: the sample shows a 2008 vote of 40/32 for Obama — with six percent claiming they voted for someone else.  Huh?  Was Ross Perot running in 2008?  Seventeen percent didn’t vote at all.  I’d bet that most of the six percent voted for Obama and don’t want to admit it, which demonstrates the rather substantial skew in this poll.

Just to remind readers (and media pollsters), Gallup found the partisan gap in April to be a single point, when considering leaners, 46/45.  This poll has it 42/35.

So how did Obama do with the big head start?  Not well.  His overall approval is still underwater, 47/48, and generally gets worse from there:

  • Economy – 44/52, a new low
  • Afghanistan – 44/45, also a new low
  • Iraq – 49/40, down from 53/39 in March

Michelle Obama doesn’t do well, either, in a poll taken in the middle of her Spanish holiday.  Her approval rating fell to 50%, which was only a drop of five points since January. Compared to Nancy Pelosi, though, she’s Miss Popularity.  Pelosi’s popularity is 21% — in a poll that has 30% of its sample from Democrats.  Harry Reid fares even worse, scoring an anemic 11%, managing to fall below the popularity of Congress overall.

With a nine-point advantage, Democrats manage to win the generic Congressional ballot too … by one point, 43/42.  That’s one point above their sample size when including leaners, while Republicans score seven points above their size in the sample.  Even the sample size can’t save Democrats from reality on the “better off” question.  Forty percent of respondents say the country is worse off than when Obama became president, while only 31% say it’s improved; 28% say “same place.”  Sixty percent have little confidence that Obama has the right goals and policies to lead the nation, while 63% have little confidence in his abilities to lead the economy, while 64% say we haven’t hit bottom in the economy yet.

Not even skewed polls can rescue Obama and the Democrats.  They’re drowning in Recovery Summer.


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