WaPo/ABC poll puts GOP up by 13 in generic Congressional ballot

posted at 8:45 am on September 7, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Whenever a new Washington Post/ABC poll gets released, I’m a bit like a kid on Christmas morning: I can’t wait to unwrap it.  Well, all right, I’m usually more like a really cynical kid on Christmas morning, because the gift in question is usually wrapped in bad sampling that skews the data.  Today’s poll, however, has a slightly more realistic partisan split (about which more in a moment), and therefore comes up with a result that has more predictive value.  Not coincidentally, it also has Republicans dominating Democrats and Barack Obama slipping badly:

For the first time in more than four years, Republicans run about evenly with Democrats on the basic question of which party they trust to handle the nation’s biggest problems. Among registered voters, 40 percent say they have more confidence in Democrats and 38 percent say they have more trust in Republicans. Three months ago, Democrats had a 12-point advantage.

Three months ago, the WaPo/ABC sample had a nine-point Democratic advantage in the partisan split, with a D/R/I of 34/25/38.  Today’s poll has a D/R/I among registered voters of 31/26/37, with a five-point advantage still being too high and both Democrats and Republicans slightly underrepresented.  Both Rasmussen and Gallup this year have the actual partisan gap at a single point.

So why has the Post/ABC poll suddenly begun improving its sample split to something closer to reality?  In order to claim accuracy and reliability, its final poll before the midterms has to get close to the actual results.  I’d bet that the final poll sample from the Post/ABC partnership winds up with a two- or three-point split between Republicans and Democrats, and oversamples independents as this poll does.

Still, it’s hard to be too churlish when the results all break in one’s favor (emphasis mine):

Among all voters, 47 percent say they would back the Republican in their congressional district if the election were held now, while 45 percent would vote for the Democrat. Any GOP advantage on this question has been rare in past years – and among those most likely to vote this fall, the Republican advantage swells to 53 percent to the Democrats’ 40 percent.

Voters were also asked whether they think it is more important to have Democrats in charge of Congress to help support the president’s policies or to have Republicans in control to serve as a check on Obama’s agenda. Here, 55 percent say they prefer Republicans, while 39 percent choose Democrats. The GOP’s 16-point edge is double what it was in July.

Obama’s overall job rating is at a new low in Post-ABC polling, with just 46 percent of all Americans giving him positive marks and 52 percent negative ones. On two big issues, disapproval of the president’s performance has reached new highs: Fifty-seven percent now disapprove of his handling of the economy and 58 percent give him low marks on dealing with the deficit.

Obama’s 46/52 is the first underwater rating of his term in office from the Post/ABC poll, which shows readers what creative sampling can do.  He’s been underwater on the economy for most of the year, though, with a term-low 41/57 at the moment.  His numbers haven’t changed much on the deficit or on Iraq, despite his Oval Office speech on the latter.  He gets a 49/45 for following the Bush playbook, from 48/42 in July — hardly an improvement.

Voters also have concluded that Obamanomics is a flop.  In April, when their survey used a ten-point split favoring Democrats, the Post/ABC poll showed that 39% of respondents thought it was making the economy better, 26% worse, and 32% thought it had no effect.  Those numbers now are 30% improving, 33% making it worse, and 36% no effect.  Of course, those April numbers came before the Wreckovery Summer campaign, too.

The shift in momentum can clearly be seen even without the slightly better sampling, the incremental nature of which can’t account for the entire gains the GOP has made in the history of this poll in 2010.  But it will be interesting to see just how much more the GOP “improves” when the Post and ABC finally get to the last survey before the midterm elections, and how that sample will look.


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Just keeps going up. Watch for Obama to get more petty, shrill and the inevitable meltdown

AH_C on September 7, 2010 at 8:48 AM

I can’t believe it’s only 13 points! Should be at least 40 points! Can’t wait for these bozos to get bounced out on their ears!

BadMojo on September 7, 2010 at 8:50 AM

Obama’s 46/52

I wonder what the real number is, especially when the GOP is up by 13 (probably higher) in the generic polling.

darwin on September 7, 2010 at 8:51 AM

“The difference is that you have me.” – Barack Obama

Yes it is, Barry.

Yes it is.

NoDonkey on September 7, 2010 at 8:51 AM

The Obama labor Day speech was the same swill as the last election just Act II. Repeating the same failures and expecting different results may not be insanity, but it does indicate a level of incompetence that incredibly unfit leadership. The corruption that is rampant in this administration may never be reversed. Vote in NOvember as if your way of life depends on it. It does.

volsense on September 7, 2010 at 8:52 AM

Just keeps going up. Watch for Obama to get more petty, shrill and the inevitable meltdown

AH_C on September 7, 2010 at 8:48 AM

I am curious to see what Barry’s demeanor will be like on November 3. Recall that Bush was humbled after the 2006 midterms and conceded that the GOP got their collective asses handed to them(albeit in more nuanced language). And he immediately started firing people in his cabinet.

Will Obama handle it the same or will he act like….well, a spoiled brat as Eugene Robinson would put it?

Doughboy on September 7, 2010 at 8:53 AM

In order to claim accuracy and reliability, its final poll before the midterms has to get close to the actual results.

The poll has to be a valid sample of the population. If the sample does not adequately represent the truth (the true proportion of D/R/I in likely voters) then any poll results can be looked at with the hairy eyeball–ie, the validity is in question. If the poll doesn’t represent the true population sufficienty, then both the accuracy and precision of the results are in question and then should be revalidated against the final election results.

But it will be interesting to see just how much more the GOP “improves” when the Post and ABC finally get to the last survey before the midterm elections, and how that sample will look.

I agree. Basically, this poll is invalid–except at the time of an election when there is a distinct need to get the sampling close to reality. They should conduct two polls at election time—The first, with the sample proportions they used 6 mos ago, and the second with the methods they choose for the election. It’s funny to see how you can change the polling results merely by fudging the D/R/I proportions.

ted c on September 7, 2010 at 8:58 AM

Doughboy on September 7, 2010 at 8:53 AM

Hopefully he’s so disgusted with all of us that he resigns in a huff, takes his family and flies off to Brussels, never to return.

That would show ‘em.

NoDonkey on September 7, 2010 at 8:58 AM

“I think we did a poor job of getting our message out, so I’m going to have to make more speeches,” -Obooba, 11/3/10.

Akzed on September 7, 2010 at 8:59 AM

among those most likely to vote this fall, the Republican advantage swells to 53 percent to the Democrats’ 40 percent.

If percentage points were inches, I’d say someone is going to get 13 inches of something big and swollen this fall….

bend.over.

ted c on September 7, 2010 at 9:02 AM

Imagine what Obama’s numbers would be if he were white.

I bet he’d lose 10 percentage points immediately from a shifting black vote. Then, he’d probably lose another 10 percentage points from a shifting vote from whites, Hispanics, and others. That would leave him with an approval of about 21%, which is probably equal to the percentage of voters in this country who support Obama’s leftist agenda.

To be sure, he’s in trouble. But only his race is propping up his numbers at this point. His is a failing presidency, but without his race it would already be reported as a catastrophic failure.

BuckeyeSam on September 7, 2010 at 9:04 AM

“we are the ones we have been waiting for”…

…”to p!ss our majorities away!”

JohnGalt23 on September 7, 2010 at 9:09 AM

Just keeps going up. Watch for Obama to get more petty, shrill and the inevitable meltdown

AH_C on September 7, 2010 at 8:48 AM

Øbama‘s instinct is to double down on failure. The more unpopular he becomes, the more defiant and the more he doubles down. Could get ugly.

petefrt on September 7, 2010 at 9:09 AM

But remember, we can’t have the keys back.

JohnInCA on September 7, 2010 at 9:10 AM

“I think we did a poor job of getting our message out, so I’m going to have to make more speeches,” -Obooba, 11/3/10.

Akzed on September 7, 2010 at 8:59 AM

Sadly he and his cronies could say something along those lines. They’re still insisting that’s what went wrong with Obamacare.

Doughboy on September 7, 2010 at 9:11 AM

The demorats can still depend on the canine vote.

Bishop on September 7, 2010 at 9:12 AM

[BadMojo on September 7, 2010 at 8:50 AM]

Sshhhh.

The Dems still have a chance to hold the House. They need to talk up stimulus and Obamacare and about more sacrifice for the good of the country via higher taxes.

Oh, and call the voters stupid, angry, spoiled brats. Yeah, that’s it, stupid, angry, spoiled brats.

Dusty on September 7, 2010 at 9:12 AM

BuckeyeSam on September 7, 2010 at 9:04 AM

If he were white, he would be lucky to be teaching middle school in Chicago.

He wouldn’t have gone to Harvard and he definitely wouldn’t be President.

NoDonkey on September 7, 2010 at 9:13 AM

It makes me glad that he’s dropping in the polls, but there is no way his approval number can be that high. Are democrats that frigging stupid or are the numbers that skewed?

rollthedice on September 7, 2010 at 9:13 AM

His news conference on Friday should be a humdinger…..if Jake is not the only journolist asking the tough questions…

cmsinaz on September 7, 2010 at 9:13 AM

Bishop on September 7, 2010 at 9:12 AM

The Deceased-American vote will break for the Democrats as usual, can’t forget that.

NoDonkey on September 7, 2010 at 9:13 AM

I think Obama is actually looking forward to spending two years doing nothing but attacking Republicans and going on vacation. That is what he does best, after all.

As for the poll, this is nothing short of catastrophic for Democrats. I suspect the Post has stoppped its wishcasting polls now because it is trying to wake up somnolent Democrats to the coming disaster. But I think it is too late.

rockmom on September 7, 2010 at 9:14 AM

If he were white, he would be lucky to be teaching middle school in Chicago.

He wouldn’t have gone to Harvard and he definitely wouldn’t be President.

NoDonkey on September 7, 2010 at 9:13 AM

Give him some credit: He might be a colleague of Bill Ayers.

BuckeyeSam on September 7, 2010 at 9:21 AM

The Deceased-American vote will break for the Democrats as usual, can’t forget that.
NoDonkey on September 7, 2010 at 9:13 AM

ACORN will now be canvassing not only cemeteries but also animal shelters for new “voters”.

Dusty, Puffball, Mr. Barky, and Muffin will all be casting their votes for the demorats come November.

Bishop on September 7, 2010 at 9:21 AM

NOvember 2, when we fit the Dems with a dog collar.

And a muzzle.

GnuBreed on September 7, 2010 at 9:21 AM

How is the Whig Party polling these days?

mankai on September 7, 2010 at 9:26 AM

Bishop on September 7, 2010 at 9:21 AM

The Canine-American community has historically been one of the Democrat Party’s most loyal supporters.

It’s high time we had a “wise Lhasa Apso” on the Supreme Court.

NoDonkey on September 7, 2010 at 9:26 AM

Tsunami…

NO-vember 2nd is another day closer today…

Khun Joe on September 7, 2010 at 9:29 AM

I don’t understand why the GOP doesn’t run against Congress. Haven’t we been sliding since 2007 when the Democrats took over?

Cindy Munford on September 7, 2010 at 9:29 AM

Tsunami…

NO-vember 2nd is another day closer today…

Khun Joe on September 7, 2010 at 9:29 AM

8 weeks and counting. It’ll be here before you know it.

Doughboy on September 7, 2010 at 9:30 AM

ACORN will now be canvassing not only cemeteries but also animal shelters for new “voters”.

Dusty, Puffball, Mr. Barky, and Muffin will all be casting their votes for the demorats come November.

Bishop on September 7, 2010 at 9:21 AM

Don’t laugh… My friend’s dad lived in Cook County, IL and absentee voted Democrat from FDR through JFK… He died in WWII, and his voting address was the cemetary… I kid you not…

Khun Joe on September 7, 2010 at 9:31 AM

I don’t understand why the GOP doesn’t run against Congress. Haven’t we been sliding since 2007 when the Democrats took over?

Cindy Munford on September 7, 2010 at 9:29 AM

Why, that wouldn’t be polite. You need to get to DC more.

mankai on September 7, 2010 at 9:31 AM

Are democrats that frigging stupid or are the numbers that skewed?

rollthedice on September 7, 2010 at 9:13 AM

No, the electorate as a whole is just that stupid.

Lanceman on September 7, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Yeah, but WaPo and ABC are two outlets with known conservative bias!

Looks like even the lib pollsters are running too scared to lie at this point. The rats are deserting the ship, and the Big Lie is beginning to melt down.

paul1149 on September 7, 2010 at 9:34 AM

If he were white, he would be lucky to be teaching middle school in Chicago.

He wouldn’t have gone to Harvard and he definitely wouldn’t be President.

NoDonkey on September 7, 2010 at 9:13 AM

Give him some credit: He might be a colleague of Bill Ayers.

BuckeyeSam on September 7, 2010 at 9:21 AM

With tenure!

Speaking of which, VDH (that’s Victor Davis Hanson to you trolls) has a typically brilliant piece out about his time in academe.

The money part comes at the end:

The following is a true example of academic parsimony. A colleague of ours proved to be a gruesome murderer — tried, convicted, imprisoned (he died in prison). He took his sabbaticals and summers down in West Hollywood where he picked up young boys, and on at least one occasion decapitated a poor fellow, then disposed of the body in Silence of the Lambs fashion (the head and torso were found 200 miles apart as I recall). How did we learn of that, or, rather, how was he caught?

He naturally turned back in the bloody rental chain saw — hair, gristle, sinews and all stuck in the chain. The rental store owner was told that our professor (of criminology, no less) had “cut apart a dog” that he hit with his car — and so in disbelief turned him in. Beheading someone is one thing; but, my god, getting charged for an overdue chain saw or losing your deposit is quite another.

(Wait reader: you ask, well, smarty-pants Mr. Hanson, how exactly did a supposedly inept professor learn how to chain saw someone’s head off? I confess, I wonder about that still.)

I could go on, but you get the picture about the strange habits that arise when you ensure someone lifelong employment, institutionalize unaccountability and groupspeak, and create artificial hierarchies of respect that are not necessarily earned by either teaching excellence, scholarship, or value to the community. After the pension meltdown, a great reckoning is coming to academia and it won’t be pretty.

The truth is that I loved teaching, and still do. And when I was penniless, the university gave me a job that I loved and did not consider work at all. Indeed, I felt ashamed that I was overpaid. I started at $22,000 as a full-time lecturer in 1985, and could not believe I got such generous compensation, whether or not it rained, hailed, or the market collapsed. I called my delighted and relieved parents that very day (being a parent to a PhD who was broke and fixing sulfur machines must have been somewhat odd): “Hey, mom, they’re going to pay me thousands of dollars for teaching Greek and Latin.” And they did.

So why again the above rant about academics?

We are presently governed by academics. In an era in which university people proliferate in this administration and seem to make things far worse for the rest of us, we need to be reminded why we should not look to the university for answers. What I hear coming out of Washington reminds me a lot of what I once heard coming out of the philosophy or English department. And that is a scary thing indeed.

You see, that tribe is more likely to embody the illness rather than the cure, and this time 300 million are paying the price.

Be sure to read the entire piece, it’s a hoot.

Del Dolemonte on September 7, 2010 at 9:34 AM

But I thought all politics was local!

At least, that’s what JohnGalt23 and Allahpundit keep saying.

fossten on September 7, 2010 at 9:41 AM

The Canine-American community has historically been one of the Democrat Party’s most loyal supporters.

It’s high time we had a “wise Lhasa Apso” on the Supreme Court.

NoDonkey on September 7, 2010 at 9:26 AM

Yesterday Obama said special interests “talk about me like a dog!” Hmmmmm code perhaps?

cartooner on September 7, 2010 at 9:41 AM

cartooner on September 7, 2010 at 9:41 AM

That quote was taken out of context:

“Oh, man in the boat overboard. You beast, you savage. C’mon bark like a dog for me. Bark like a dog, I will teach you the meaning of the word respect.”

Greenskeeper in Chief, Barry Soweto.

NoDonkey on September 7, 2010 at 9:51 AM

Why, that wouldn’t be polite. You need to get to DC more.

mankai on September 7, 2010 at 9:31 AM

As a fan of sarcasm this is just another sign that our language skills have evaporated. Is there anything better than criticism delivered in exquisite politeness that it takes on the appearance of a body blow? I guess those days are gone.

Cindy Munford on September 7, 2010 at 10:06 AM

If he were white, he would be lucky to be teaching middle school in Chicago.

He wouldn’t have gone to Harvard and he definitely wouldn’t be President.

NoDonkey on September 7, 2010 at 9:13 AM

Give him some credit: He might be a colleague of Bill Ayers.

BuckeyeSam on September 7, 2010 at 9:21 AM

Not necessarily. Bill Ayers knows Bammie perhaps better than anyone other than M’chell or Jarrett, and I suspect that he sees him as a useful idiot. He knows that Bammie is in truth a dim bulb and that his race is his primary resume entry. Middle school teacher.

slickwillie2001 on September 7, 2010 at 10:40 AM

Today’s poll, however, has a slightly more realistic partisan split (about which more in a moment), and therefore comes up with a result that has more predictive value.

This is weird. They usually only slide toward Rasmussen’s (accurate) numbers right before the election, in order to pretend that they are honest and/or competent. This is weirdly early.

Since we all know that they are lying liberal scum, I wonder what it means?

Jaibones on September 7, 2010 at 10:54 AM

slickwillie2001 on September 7, 2010 at 10:40 AM

You’re probably right. Uncle.

BuckeyeSam on September 7, 2010 at 10:55 AM

This is weird. They usually only slide toward Rasmussen’s (accurate) numbers right before the election, in order to pretend that they are honest and/or competent. This is weirdly early.

Since we all know that they are lying liberal scum, I wonder what it means?

Jaibones on September 7, 2010 at 10:54 AM

They are in quite a bind. They need to alert their grasshopper voters to urgent onrushing disaster and falling sky, without every saying any of those things because at the same time they have to pretend everything is copacetic and people are happy with the status quo, go back to sleep, nothing to see here, but just… get to the polls like you never do in the off years, or ever did before the giant hype machine of ’08.

I work with a set of dem grasshopper voters and they have no idea. Probably because not one of these people appears to understand thing-one about money at any level, or else they would be forced to be uneasy. Everything the Won does is just dandy and there’s nothing to pay attention to except to occasionally tune into a speech and make excuses for their continued denial.

perries on September 7, 2010 at 11:48 AM

perries on September 7, 2010 at 11:48 AM

I work with Dem voters also and you are exactly right. They may have heard vague rumblings about the election but they have no idea what’s coming. And most of them, unless the Dems succeed in getting the word out, will probably not bother to vote. (That’s one reason why I never talk about elections with them.)

The MSM can’t decide how to play this but right they’re leaning toward ‘sound the alarm.’

Missy on September 7, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Just a question for the WashComPost. When I was in school (where learning had not yet been destroyed by liberal educrats), we were taught that when you have a percentage sample, all of the individual parts of the percentage pool must add up to 100%. Yet the three parts of the percentage pool that the WashComPost samples (Dems, Repub and Indies) add up to only 94%. What happened to the other six percent? Are they in the the states 51-58, that Obama talked about during the campaign?

eaglewingz08 on September 7, 2010 at 12:33 PM

Only way the Dems are going to dig out of this hole is to make sure they’re holes they can drag all the dead people out of so they can vote.

chickasaw42 on September 7, 2010 at 6:18 PM

And then- there’s Gallup.

Who’s running that rag, anyway? They’re the king of inconsistency. They using PPP samples?

BKeyser on September 7, 2010 at 7:45 PM