Presidential Popularity, or Fun with Juxtaposition
Charles Blow informed New York Times readers, Friday, that President Obama may be “unbreakable”:
First, let’s take his job approval rating. Yes, it slid during the summer, but it stabilized around 50 percent in November and has hovered there ever since.
The empty-headed chattering class began another round of speculation and inane analysis this week when his approval rating dropped to 46 percent, its lowest yet. Silly pundits.
Then again, Jim Lindgren offers a comparison:
When George Bush left office he was deeply unpopular: in Bush’s last month, according to Rasmussen 43% strongly disapproved of the job Bush was doing, while only 13% strongly approved, for a staggering negative rating of -30%. Rasmussen’s Thursday release shows that after 14 months in office President Barack Obama has achieved Bush’s 43% of the people strongly disapproving of his performance, but Obama is still 10% ahead of Bush in those who strongly approve (23% v. 13% for Bush).
As Lindgren suggests, 10% “strong approval” seems more than adequately covered by adjustments for identity politics (i.e., “the black vote”) and the daily and nightly beating that President Bush took in the media for most of his time in office. From what I’ve seen (admittedly, as one who doesn’t pay much attention to such things), the common wisdom about Obama in the entertainment range of the media is that his biggest shortcoming is being too darn smart and cool for the American people.
The President may turn his popularity around, somehow, but it’s also possible that us ignahrant folks are increasingly wondering why the One we’re seeing doesn’t match the One we’re hearing about.