Move over, CBS. Hang up the kid-leather gloves, WaPo/ABC. There’s a new sample-skewing sheriff in town, and it’s the Associated Press. In a new definition of “outlier,” the AP reported that its latest poll from GfK Roper shows Barack Obama with a 60% approval rating in a survey of 1001 adults, with even his approval on the economy shooting past the 50% mark:
President Barack Obama’s approval rating has hit its highest point in two years — 60 percent — and more than half of Americans now say he deserves to be re-elected, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll taken after U.S. forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
In worrisome signs for Republicans, the president’s standing improved not just on foreign policy but also on the economy, and independent Americans — a key voting bloc in the November 2012 presidential election — caused the overall uptick in support by sliding back to Obama after fleeing for much of the past two years.
Comfortable majorities of the public now call Obama a strong leader who will keep America safe. Nearly three-fourths — 73 percent — also now say they are confident that Obama can effectively handle terrorist threats. And he improved his standing on Afghanistan, Iraq and the United States’ relationships with other countries.
Oddly — or perhaps not — the AP report doesn’t include a link back to the survey’s raw data. In order to find it, one has to go to GfK’s site for its AP polls. The partisan breakdown in the sample is found about halfway through the PDF, and it explains a great deal about how Obama managed to get such a high boost in this poll while others showed shallow bumps that had already started to subside.
The Dem/Rep/Ind breakdown in this poll is 46/29/4, as AP assigned most of the leaners to the parties. That is a 17-point gap, more than twice what was seen in the 2008 actual popular vote that elected Obama. It only gets worse when independents are assigned properly. When taking out the leaners, the split becomes — I’m not kidding — 35/18/27. Oh, and another 20% “don’t know.” That’s significantly worse than the March poll, in which the proper D/R/I was 29/20/34, and far beyond their post-midterm sample of 31/28/26. It’s pretty easy to get Obama to 60% when Republicans are undersampled by almost half.
Frankly, this sample is so bad that no real insights can be gleaned from it. I think it’s time to break out the Billy Madison verdict: