A month ago, I noted that Gallup showed the gap in party identification among American voters had narrowed to a single point, following a March Rasmussen poll that showed the same gap between Democrats and Republicans. At the time, I wondered whether media pollsters like CBS would change their sampling and weighting techniques to reflect the actual partisan split. In at least CBS’ case, we have an answer — not that it did Barack Obama much good, as his post-ObamaCare bump disappeared:
Americans are split, essentially along party lines, on whether and what kind of change Mr. Obama has brought to the country. Thirty-eight percent overall say he has made the country better, while 32 percent say he has made it worse. Twenty-four percent say he has not brought change.
Forty-eight percent trust the president to make the right decisions for the country. Forty-nine percent do not.
Mr. Obama’s overall approval rating is 47 percent. Forty-three percent disapprove of his job performance. That’s a drop from his recent high of 51 percent, though it still bests his recent low of 44 percent.
The president receives the best marks on the issues of terrorism and Afghanistan and the lowest marks on the economy and health care.
Let’s look at the sample before checking the issue ratings. The initial sample actually looked close to rational, with just a two-point gap between Democrats and Republicans, although independents are overrepresented. The problem comes when CBS weights the poll to adjust the sample:
In weighting the sample, CBS actually increases the oversampling of independents while removing almost four points from Republicans in the sample.
But this does little to boost Obama’s standing in approval rating. He slipped by four points over the last month and is just barely ahead of his disapproval. On the issues, he only gets to 50% once, on terrorism. His worst two issues are the biggest two for the midterms: the economy (43%) and jobs (42%). Obamanomics gets a big shrug; 13% say they have been personally helped by Obama’s economic policies, 18% say they’ve been personally hurt, and 68% say his efforts have had no impact on their lives. That latter number is actually higher among Democrats and independents (71%).
The overall perception of the economy remains poor. Only 20% believe the current economy to be good, while 79% say it’s bad. That’s a drop from last month’s 23/77, and not that much of an improvement from six months ago, when the numbers were 19/79. Americans aren’t optimistic about the future, either; 30% believe the economy to be improving while 28% say it’s getting worse and 42% think it’s staying the same. Last month, those numbers were 41/15/43.
Perhaps even worse, voters have lost confidence in Obama’s ability to relate to their priorities. In October, 58% of respondents said Obama shared their priorities, but now only 45% do — less than the 47% who say he doesn’t. Echoing this is the right direction/wrong direction polling, which has returned to pre-Obama levels. This usually operates in negative territory, but a year ago came close to even at 45/48, a dramatic turnaround from the beginning of Obama’s term, when it was 23/68. It’s now 32/61, sliding from 34/59 last month.
Even with the strange “weighting” in this poll, it’s bad news all around for the Obama administration.