Grassroots liberals often seem to confuse the Fox News poll, a survey conducted by two respected partisan pollsters, with Fox News Channel. For some, they discount the results of the Fox poll as though Bill O’Reilly was spending his evenings on the phone with respondents. The fact is that the Fox News survey is a solid poll with a reliable track record.
Which is why conservatives should be concerned with its latest results. As Ed Morrissey noted on Thursday, the latest Fox News survey could indicate that President Barack Obama is enjoying a bit of a comeback.
Actually, his job approval numbers did bounce back, at least a little. Obama gets a 42/49, still underwater, but his disapproval number is back below a majority for the first time since May, and only the second time in the past year. Two months ago, that number was 41/54, and in March it was 38/54.
If Obama’s approval rating is giving the left a thrill up their legs, the generic congressional ballot question in the latest Fox News poll is going to have them dancing in the streets. Voters told Fox’s pollsters that they prefer the Democrats control Congress over Republicans by 46 to 39 percent. That is a significant shift from mid-July when only 43 percent backed Democrats and 41 percent supported Republicans as the party they would prefer have majority control over Congress.
Be wary, however, of those who do not proceed to note the results of the generic congressional ballot question for those respondents who expressed enough interest in the coming midterm elections to be considered a likely voter. Among interested voters, Republicans enjoy a slight lead on the generic ballot question. 45 percent said they prefer the GOP to control both chambers of the federal legislature while 44 percent backed Democrats — a statistical tie.
This is a window into what the polls will probably look like after Labor Day when most public pollsters begin to apply a likely voter screen to their results. Only the most interested or reliable voters usually make it through most likely voter screens and, among the enthusiastic, the out party has benefited from a consistent edge with voters in midterm election cycles. 2014 is unlikely to be an exception to that rule.
That fact will probably take a backseat, however, to the glaring headline that will likely spread like wildfire across the liberal blogs: “FOX NEWS POLL: DEMS LEAD GOP BY SEVEN POINTS!!”
Those outlets that do not note that many of those pro-Democratic voters are unlikely to show up at the polls in November are worthy of suspicion.