It appears that the second 100 days of the Obama presidency didn’t go as smoothly as the first 100 days. CNN’s new polling corroborates the remarkable decline in Barack Obama’s job approval numbers, although CNN apparently uses their own scale. They show Obama with a 56% approval rating, but have to use the least predictive model to get it:
As President Barack Obama approaches 200 days in the White House, a new national poll suggests his approval rating has dropped seven points since the 100-day mark in April. The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday morning also indicates that, while just one in five Americans say that the current economic conditions are good, the number who feel the economy is in very poor shape is dropping.
Fifty-six percent of those questioned in the poll approve of how Obama’s handling his duties as president. Four in 10 disapprove. The 56 percent approval is down five points from June, and represents a drop of seven points from the president’s showing in late April. The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation figures are in line with numbers from most other national polls out the past few weeks.
“Since April, Obama’s rating has stayed steady among white women, but he has dropped 14 points among white men. A majority of white men supported him at the Hundred Day mark, but now most white men disapprove of how he is handling his job,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Obama has also slipped among non-whites, but he still gets support from over 70 percent of that group.”
CNN did not publish the partisan composition of its sample, but perhaps it doesn’t need to do so. Instead of using a normal predictive model of likely voters (Rasmussen) or even registered voters, CNN opted for “American adults,” the least predictive model — and the one most likely to benefit Democrats. Not only did they do that, but their disclaimer at the top directly relates to the ethnic demographics that CNN emphasizes in their report:
Interviews with 1,136 adult Americans, including an oversample of African-Americans, conducted by telephone by Opinion Research Corporation on July 31-August 3, 2009. The margin of sampling error for results based on the total sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Did they correct for that oversample? Did they weight the responses? CNN’s polling data doesn’t explain at all, which leads one to the conclusion that they kept the oversample in the final data. Given CNN’s conclusions in the polling, it seems likely that a properly-balanced poll would result in lower approval numbers for Obama.
Nor is that the only strange thing about this poll. One of the questions asked, “How do you personally feel about Barack Obama being president?”, has the following options for response: Thrilled, Happy, Don’t Care, Unhappy, Depressed, No Opinion. Depressed? CNN offers two kinds of responses for happy, one for unhappy, and one that asks people to diagnose themselves with a clinical disease.
Even with the friendly sample, 65% of respondents think Obama has tried to take on too much, too fast. Despite CNN’s spin, the difference of people who think the economy is poor was a single percentage point — 79% now, 80% in April. Optimism declined by three points, with April’s poll showing that 61% expected a better economy a year later, compared to 58% now.
Friendly samples can’t hide the political problems Obama has caused himself with free-spending policies, statist demands on the economy, and a lack of any real result from his first six months in office.