Poll: Obama speech "no game changer"

George Stephanopoulos says that the Wednesday night speech “stopped the slide,” as the Washington Post/ABC poll results show Barack Obama’s speech on Wednesday night mainly flopped.  Unfortunately, even with a ridiculous 11-point spread between Democrats and Republicans in the latest poll sample, Obama still can’t get to 50% support on health care leadership, dropped another point from the last poll on the economy, and lost six points between overall approval and disapproval over the last month:

Our new ABC News/Washington Post poll out this morning shows that the President’s joint session speech may have stopped his summer slide, but it doesn’t appear to have been the “game-changer” Democrats were hoping for.

No doubt Obama’s passionate presentation energized his partisans and began to unify Congressional Democrats, but this poll is the best evidence yet of where the public stands – and it demonstrates how difficult it will be for Obama to shape the debate and overcome skepticism about his plan.

Bottom line: right now, voters are almost exactly where they were before the speech.

Big question: will praise of Obama’s speech from moderate Dems (Ben Nelson called it a “game-changer” and President’s meeting with 17 Blue Dogs had a positive vibe) begin to impact public, or will more poll results like this shake the confidence of the Congressional centrists Obama needs?

Big question II: is dropping the public option the game-changer?  Olympia Snowe says it’s the only way to get a bill through the Senate, and our poll shows a significant shift in support: from 46-48 to 50-42.

Once again, the entire poll results are skewed by the increasingly ridiculous sampling done by the pollsters.  First, in terms of predictive results, it uses the worst possible method, “all adults,” instead of registered or likely voters.  Next, the gap between Democrats and Republicans increased by a point from ten to eleven since their mid-August poll.  Barack Obama won his presidential election by about seven points, and that was with some GOP crossover support.  Does anyone think Democrats gained ground on Republicans over the last month?

Stephanopoulos even hails the skewed samples to claim Republicans (and Democrats) are losing ground with the voters, and that the “Perotistas” might be making a comeback.  Try sampling likely voters for that analysis and see what you find.  That’s precisely the kind of calculation that the WaPo/ABC methodology can’t determine.

So when Obama improves on health care from 46/40 to 48/48, reducing the Republican component in the sample from 25% to 21% might have something to do with “stopping the slide”.  It certainly makes his declines on the economy (52% to 51%) and the federal deficit (41% to 39%, with disapproval going from 53% to 55%) more significant.

What does this poll mean?  Given the fact that Obama continues to lose ground even in skewed samples of all adults, it means that he’s getting clobbered among likely voters.  The speech didn’t even stop Obama’s slide.  At best, it may have slowed his descent a little.  That’s not nearly good enough, and it shows that the more Obama appears on TV to angrily repeat the same old slogans, the less people care what he has to say.