Quit Citing Polls

Can I ask you commenters a favor? Quit citing poll after poll after poll of Bush’s approval ratings. They suck. They are historically low. I will concede they are probably going to stay that way, barring a miracle. So until they change dramatically, quit citing them.

Why? Because they DO NOT MATTER. This administration CLEARLY does not give two hoots in hell about poll numbers. They have both houses of Congress (and, barring a total disaster, will retain them in 2006), they have the White House, they just rammed through two very conservative Supreme Court Justices, they are filling the State Department and the CIA and every agency with young conservative political appointees, and they are simply having their way with the government and the country.

Bush and Cheney and Rove do not care about the poll numbers. If they did, they would change their behavior and do all sorts of popular little things like the famous Dick Morris triangulation schemes (school uniforms, etc.). But they aren’t, and they won’t.

Why? Because they don’t give a shit about the polls, which is why I really don’t, either.

*** Update ***

Ezra says I am full of it, and that Bush not only uses polls, but does it so carefully that he has me fooled.

Don’t get me wrong- I think they ‘use’ polls. I just don’t think they give a shit what they say. They are going to do what they want to do, and they use the poll as the best way to get what they want. But I am willing to bet that other than losing support in Congress, they would not care if Bush’s approval ratings were in the teens.






94 replies
  1. 1
    unreasonable says:

    Polls show that you may be incorrect. Remember Terri?

  2. 2
    Lines says:

    Don’t you care that the media, by constantly reminding us of the low polling numbers, is assisting our enemies?

    Isn’t that worth discussing?

  3. 3
    Marcus Wellby says:

    Come on John — do you honestly buy that? Sure, they may not care about national polls (which is highly doubtful), but I bet they don’t do a damn thing without polling the base or running ideas through a focus group.

  4. 4
    ppGaz says:

    The poll-citing is a response to the GFY attitude of righties who took the “we won, get over it” stance after November 2004.

    It’s a rational response and it’s a rational thing for people to be talking about.

    I can see why it would be annoying to someone who pays close attention to the traffic here. You need somebody to help you moderate and give you a break. If I had to moderate this thing, I’d turn off comments, I couldn’t take it. Seriously, I don’t know how you put up with it.

  5. 5
    Faux News says:

    You need somebody to help you moderate and give you a break. If I had to moderate this thing, I’d turn off comments, I couldn’t take it. Seriously, I don’t know how you put up with it

    .

    Sorry ppGaz, you are clearly a Roy Blunt candidate. A long time BJ insider. I don’t see any progress with you at the helm of BJ (part time of course) To quote Red State:

    “A Vote for Blunt ppGaz = A Vote for the Status Quo”

    Balloon Juice needs a fresh face, someone untainted by your “insider” status. Given that there can only be one clear choice for BJ Moderator: DougJ!

  6. 6
    ppGaz says:

    I don’t see any progress with you at the helm of BJ (part time of course) To quote Red State:

    “A Vote for Blunt ppGaz = A Vote for the Status Quo”

    Balloon Juice needs a fresh face, someone untainted by your “insider” status. Given that there can only be one clear choice for BJ Moderator: DougJ!

    Then the terrorists win.

  7. 7
    neil says:

    Without polls, how can we tell when to alert the populace that the glorious leader’s popularity is on the rise?

  8. 8
    M.A. says:

    The polls don’t necessarily matter to the administration (though I think they care more than you think), but they do — or should — matter to politicians who are mulling over whether or not to oppose this or that Bush policy. They need to understand — Democrats and Republicans alike — that it is not political suicide to be opposing the policies of an unpopular president.

  9. 9
    Paul L. says:

    But Kerry won. The exit polls say so.

  10. 10
    Edmund Dantes says:

    I think the polls about his approval ratings are fair game. Especially considering how Cheney, Rove, and Bush all like to cite how the American people support there agenda using poll numbers no less. It’s a natural response to cite the polls when the guys in charge are citing polls themselves.

    Not sure why it’s got you in such a tizzy.

  11. 11
    Blue Neponset says:

    If polls didn’t matter Bush would have saved Social Security for us by now.

  12. 12
    ppGaz says:

    If polls didn’t matter Bush would have saved Social Security for us by now.

    Funniest line so far to the thread.

    ( I have the CATO Institute on line three for you …. )

  13. 13
    Ancient Purple says:

    “A Vote for Blunt ppGaz = A Vote for the Status Quo”

    Balloon Juice needs a fresh face, someone untainted by your “insider” status. Given that there can only be one clear choice for BJ Moderator: DougJ!

    I am from Arizona and I have less taint than ppGaz.

    Vote Ancient Shadegg for BJ Moderator!!!

  14. 14
    BIRDZILLA says:

    Can we realy trust polls taken by CNN/TIME,AP/UPI,ABC,CBS,NBC, and the rest of the liberal reptiles? especialy the infamous NEW YORK TIMES?

  15. 15
    guyermo says:

    The White House may not watch polls, but Congress certainly will this year.

  16. 16
    Faux News says:

    Then the terrorists win.

    I’m afraid I have to take the gloves off now. Let me recap:

    DougJ = John Shadegg

    ppGaz = Roy Blunt

    The choice for BJ Moderator is clear: Doug J. The terraists will win only if the status quo remains on Balloon Juice. In fact I will end this debate with the ulitmate trump card:

    9-11.

    Game over.

  17. 17
    Lines says:

    Without polls and the Times, how would I know what my talking points are supposed to be or how well they are working. I need feedback, people!

  18. 18
    Jill says:

    Not only do Bush and company not “give a shit about polls”, they don’t GIVE A SHIT ABOUT the country or the troops or the average citizen. Now what they do give a shit about is big business and covering their own asses.

  19. 19
    slide says:

    You know why “our” side keeps quoting polls – it’s because the “other” side keeps misrepresenting what is going on in this country. Just this morning I was listening to Mike Barnicle on the Imus show talk about how “out of touch” the Dems are with most Americans. He was talking about how Dems hate American and how most Americans love this country and would rather live here than in France. It infururated me. Why.. why….. when we question our President are we said to HATE america. Is Bush America? Did he say that the unrelenting attacks on Clinton for eight years demonstrated the right wing’s “hatred of America”? I’m sick and tired of this bull shit from the Chris Matthews and Mike Barnicles who declare that they speak for the “average” American. right now the ‘average’ American wants Dems to control congress by a 12 point margin. Out of touch? Right now only 39% of Americans approve of the war time President.. and its the Dems that are out of touch? Right now 65% of Americans think we are going in the wrong direction.. and its Dems that are out of touch?

    Mike topped off his assine appearance on Imus by saying, he wonders if Dems could EVER win a national election again since they are so “out of touch” with real Americans. huh? For God’s sake the Democratic candidate for President has received more votes than the Republican candidate in three out of the last four national elections. what the fuck are these morons talking about? A couple hundred thousand votes teh other way in ohio and we would have won four out of four.

    So.. I will keep quoting poll after poll after poll…. as long as the other side makes the ridiculous arguments I heard today on the Imus show.

  20. 20
    Davebo says:

    Why? Because they DO NOT MATTER. This administration CLEARLY does not give two hoots in hell about poll numbers. They have both houses of Congress (and, barring a total disaster, will retain them in 2006)

    Tell that to GOP congressmen up for re-election this year.
    And for a bunch of guys who don’t give a shit about polls, this administration sure spends a bundle conducting them.

    But admit it John, what you really are tired of hearing is that you exercised poor judgement.

    Twice.

  21. 21
    slide says:

    some more right wing asshole nonsense:

    Can we realy trust polls taken by CNN/TIME,AP/UPI,ABC,CBS,NBC, and the rest of the liberal reptiles? especialy the infamous NEW YORK TIMES?

    the last poll showing bush at 39% approval was by the WALL STREET JOURNAL… .FOX NEWS has him at 42%…. give me a break

  22. 22
    Mark says:

    There was a poll last week that find that if a blogger posts a message to stop citing polls, then that blogger’s commenters by a 60%-40% majority say they will not post comments again.

  23. 23
    ppGaz says:

    the last poll showing bush at 39% approval

    That’s right, and that’s just in the Bush family.

  24. 24
    Hoodlumman says:

    With the exception of their editorial section, the Wall Street Journal is pretty liberal.

  25. 25
    BarneyG2000 says:

    Like hell they don’t. I seem to recall that every time Kerry went up in the polls (2004 election) there was another rise in the terror threat level.

  26. 26
    unreasonable says:

    WSJ poll also says 53% think Bush should get court approval for wiretaps.

  27. 27
    ppGaz says:

    “How you ask the question.”

    a) Do you think that the government should listen in on phone calls from terrorists?

    b) Do you think that the government should listen in on every phone call in the hopes of finding a terrorist?

    Your government will use the answers to “a” to justify its actions. But what it is doing is much closer to “b”.

    Polls are grist for manipulation. Do we really want to announce that we don’t want to talk about them?

    I think we should talk about them more, not less. We should examine the track record of the pollsters, look at their methods, review their questions, chart their trends. We should be poll wonks.

    Otherwise, everything here just becomes (cough) hot air.

  28. 28
    Krista says:

    I am from Arizona and I have less taint than ppGaz

    Here now, nobody needs to know about that. Nobody.

  29. 29
    unreasonable says:

    ~how you ask the question~

    I think the WSJ did a fair job:

    “Do you think that the Bush Administration should conduct wiretaps of American citizens who are suspected of having ties to terrorists without a court order, or do you think that the Bush administration should be required to get a court order before conducting these wiretaps?”

  30. 30
    slide says:

    With the exception of their editorial section, the Wall Street Journal is pretty liberal

    Lol…lol…. the article you quote says this:

    The fourth most centrist outlet was “Special Report With Brit Hume” on Fox News

    and this:

    The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left.

    lol…. so Brit Hume show is in the center and Drudge leans left….lol.. no comment.

  31. 31
    ppGaz says:

    I resent the notion that I have too much taint.

    If taint is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

  32. 32
    Lines says:

    Is there a Taint Measurement Certification? Maybe the University of Malvo can grant one. You wouldn’t just want any old measurer taking something that important. Taint, by itself, is quantifiable, but the emotions that Taints create can be varied from one person to another, therefore requiring a single source for the measurement.

    I think I’ve found a specialty for Darrell!

  33. 33
    ppGaz says:

    “Do you think that the Bush Administration should conduct wiretaps of American citizens who are suspected of having ties to terrorists without a court order, or do you think that the Bush administration should be required to get a court order before conducting these wiretaps?”

    “Do you think that the Bush administration should follow the law that was put in place specifically to guide this type of activity?”

    “Do you think if the law needs updating, that the Bush administration should seek the remediations from its Republican-controlled Congress, or just ignore the law and do whatever it wants?”

    The correct answer to the latter question is obviously the first answer I showed.

    But these cowardly spuds went with the latter answer, because they dodn’t want THE PEOPLE to know what they were up to. They fear the people whom they claim they want to protect.

    Throw the motherfuckers out. Who needs leadership like that?

  34. 34
    Tim F. says:

    “Do you think that the Bush Administration should conduct wiretaps of American citizens who are suspected of having ties to terrorists without a court order, or do you think that the Bush administration should be required to get a court order before conducting these wiretaps?”

    You’ll notice that the question that does not reflect the actual text of the law. FISA law allows the government to wiretap whoever it sees fit at a moment’s notice, play a 24-hour marathon game of Tetris, sleep off the next 12 hours, spend 9 hours at work, see a movie, sleep an 8-hour night and still have more than 20 hours to ask the court for permission. Therefore the answers to the WSJ poll are less than meaningless.

  35. 35
    MC says:

    Serious question – has anyone actually read this UCLA study, or only the press release? I know the Quarterly Journal of Economics is a very strong journal so the methodology should be pretty good, but you never know for sure. If you don’t get the article in the hands of the right reviewers, you can blind them with bullshit. I’d be interested in seeing the article.

    With regards to polling, I’d be interested to see if anyone has done research linking poll bias and media outlet bias. There is a connection between poll sponsorship and bias, but I’m not so sure about media polls.

    I’m all for poll wonking, but disputes about pollsters really comes down to two things – question wording and sampling technique. Phrasing is fairly easy to address from the pollster’s perspective with mulitple indicators but I think everyone will always disagree on sampling – it’s a very contention topic.

  36. 36
    jg says:

    So until they change dramatically, quit citing them.

    when they go way up after the next attack can we post them then? High Bush polliing numbers are OK?

  37. 37
    Pooh says:

    You go to the SOTU with the poll numbers you have…

  38. 38
    neil says:

    What John is saying is that polls don’t matter because the will of the people doesn’t matter. And he’s right.

  39. 39
    Paddy O'Shea says:

    There will be a tidal wave of polls after Georgie Bush’s “I’m the only person in the world that can save you from terror!” speech tonight.

    And in comparison the content of the polling about the fib-fest will far surpass and poll-tested spin he will use in the actual speech.

    Bush doesn’t care about polls?

    Laughable. Politics is all he cares about, and polls are the scorecard.

  40. 40
    gorillagogo says:

    Agreed John. In fact, I just saw a poll that showed a historically low number of Bush Administration officials care about polls.

  41. 41
    LITBMueller says:

    I was going to make a comment…but all the polls tell me that no one will listen because my opinion doesn’t matter….least of all to the President… ;)

  42. 42
    srv says:

    Damnit, what is the problem with BJ serving as the host for Paddy O’s poll announcements? Where else am I supposed to get all these in one place?

    When you don’t like something, it’s because you don’t see the opportunities in it.

  43. 43
    Clever says:

    MC:
    Here’s someone who did: http://www.americanprogress.or.....;b=1347483

    I tried to read the study but I’m not enough of a wonk to poke thru all of it. From what I can gather, the basis for the study was sound but the actual research for it was a little shaky. From the link [for those who won’t click]:

    For instance, the researchers looked at the news content of The Wall Street Journal’s news pages – finding it the most liberal of the bunch – for a mere four months in 2002, while CBS News, which comes in as the second most liberal news organization, was studied for more than 12 years. One can’t come to any other conclusion than that this huge discrepancy in length of study represents a major analytical flaw. Four months, in an off-election year, can’t in any serious sense be compared to 12 years – a time period during which several national elections would be held. What’s more, Time magazine was studied for about two years, while U.S. News and World Report was looked at over a period of about eight years. No matter, the researchers essentially say, as they assign the same weight to each individual study while refusing to make any attempt to explain why different times and amounts of time were spent on each organization.

    As for bias, I agree with Stephen Colbert:

    But that has been extended to the idea that authoritarian is better than authority. Because authoritarian means there’s only one authority, and that authority has got to be the President, has got to be the government, and has got to be his allies. What the right-wing in the United States tries to do is undermine the press. They call the press “liberal,” they call the press “biased,” not necessarily because it is or because they have problems with the facts of the left—or even because of the bias for the left, because it’s hard not to be biased in some way, everyone is always going to enter their editorial opinion—but because a press that has validity is a press that has authority. And as soon as there’s any authority to what the press says, you question the authority of the government—it’s like the existence of another authority. So that’s another part of truthiness. Truthiness is “What I say is right, and [nothing] anyone else says could possibly be true.” It’s not only that I feel it to be true, but that I feel it to be true. There’s not only an emotional quality, but there’s a selfish quality.

  44. 44
    Ancient Purple says:

    When are we going to start hearing the good things about taint?

  45. 45
    DougJ says:

    Why? Because they DO NOT MATTER. This administration CLEARLY does not give two hoots in hell about poll numbers.

    You’re an idiot.

    Sorry to have to say that, but come on. Have you spent your whole life on this planet?

  46. 46
    Mac Buckets says:

    No more off-topic poll numbers? But what will Paddy post ten times a week now?

    My main problems with people citing polls is not that no one in government cares about them, which is only partially true — it’s that polls are so often misinterpreted, occasionally biased in content or sample, and rarely capture an accurate sample of Americans or voters.

    Sometimes opinion polls just show that average Americans don’t know very much about what’s going on in Washington. My favorite from last year was the poll on judicial filibusters where, IIRC, two-thirds of the people polled said that judges should get an up-or-down vote without a filibuster, and then two questions later, over half said they supported the Democrats’ position on the filibusters. Obviously, they had no clue what the Democrats’ side of the issue was (but they were on it!), but hey, now some writer or politician could say that the poll said a majority supported the Democrats on filibusters.

    Some polls just seem lazy and stupid, like presidential approval numbers. “Approval” is a subjective idea with no standard, so as a metric, it’s fairly useless. I may agree with Bush on 80% of the contentious issues, but if I demand that my pols agree with me 100% of the time, I’ll respond “disapprove,” even though I’d vote for him again. If someone else agrees with only 1/3 of Bush’s policies, but is simpatico on the top issues to them, then they might respond with an “approve,” and vote for the next Democrat to run. Some people might never “approve” of any pol, and some people might support whoever’s in office.

    What is an approval number supposed to be telling us, anyway? Why don’t the weekly “approval” pollsters at least ask “If you disapprove of the President’s performance, do you think he has been too conservative, too liberal, or neither?” Then we get a little more data on how many people disapprove of Bush because they think he hasn’t been conservative enough, or disapprove of a Democrat because he hasn’t been liberal enough. It’s one additional question that lends some credence to an otherwise silly poll — why not ask it?

  47. 47
    neil says:

    I see now Paddy is taking a turn as DougJ.

  48. 48
    DougJ says:

    Have to agree on Paddy’s polling numbers — too many of them, Paddy.

  49. 49
    ppGaz says:

    Have to agree on Paddy’s polling numbers—too many of them, Paddy.

    Experiment: Have Paddy post only polls that are favorable to Shrub-ato. Then poll BJ to see who likes the constant poll information.

    The betting windows are now open ……….

  50. 50
    Mac Buckets says:

    Laughable. Politics is all he cares about, and polls are the scorecard.

    Why must you guys always bring up Clinton? He’s not president anymore! Get over your obsession with the Clenis!

  51. 51
    Mac Buckets says:

    Experiment: Have Paddy post only polls that are favorable to Shrub-ato. Then poll BJ to see who likes the constant poll information.

    I could post off-topic ravings about Bush’s victorious election results on every thread, but I don’t, because that would be annoying and a-holesque. That’s one difference between me and Paddy.

  52. 52
    Clever says:

    Experiment: Have Paddy post only polls that are favorable to Shrub-ato. Then poll BJ to see who likes the constant poll information.

    Breaking: New poll finds that 95% of pretzels will not attempt to choke President Bush.

    As well, the President has a 90%+ approval rating among his mothers.

  53. 53
    ppGaz says:

    because that would be annoying and a-holesque

    { ahem }

    If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s annoyance.

    Thank you for not annoying me.

    { sound of beer being poured into glass }

  54. 54
    DougJ says:

    How come we never hear about all the times Bush ate pretzels without choking?

  55. 55
    Jim Allen says:

    I don’t care if the admnistration pays any attention to polls. (I also don’t believe that they don’t pay attention to them, but that’s another issue).

    What does matter is that the American people do pay attention, even if only peripherally, to the polls. Seeing these polls is a continual reminder that this administration is among the worst ever, if it hasn’t already locked that position up. Nothing wrong with keeping that little nugget out in front of everyone.

  56. 56
    Mac Buckets says:

    Thank you for not annoying me.

    No problemo.

    Bush……………..62,040,606 …..51%……. 286

    Kerry……………..59,028,109 …..48%…….252

    Whooops! My bad — I….. slipped….. and accidentally posted an offtopic election result. I will never do it again.

  57. 57
    DougJ says:

    All politicians care about polls. Period. If you think Karl Rove is any different, you should join the Flat Earth Society, if you aren’t already a member.

    That said, there’s too much discussion of what Gallup showed versus what ABC/WaPo showed, etc.

    There’s only two good sources of polling data on presidential approval:

    (1) Survey USA’s 50 state monthly poll

    and

    (2) pollkatz’s poll of polls.

    And you know what: the two sites always say the same thing, plus or minus a point.

  58. 58
    slide says:

    No problemo.

    Bush……………..62,040,606 …..51%…….286

    Kerry……………..59,028,109 …..48%…….252

    Well, one out of four ain’t bad I guess.

    In Three out of the last Four national elections the Democratic candidate got more votes than the Republcan candidate.

  59. 59
    DougJ says:

    Mac, just a question: where you reciting the 1972 election results at your liberal friends during Watergate?

  60. 60
    Mac Buckets says:

    All politicians care about polls. Period.

    And opinion polls are largely silly and useless in terms of governing, although they might be important in the pols keeping their jobs. So we have politicians caring about something that is silly and useless to America. That explains an awful lot.

    pollkatz’s poll of polls

    And you guys complain about FoxNews and Rassmussen? Wow.

  61. 61
    Mac Buckets says:

    Mac, just a question: where you reciting the 1972 election results at your liberal friends during Watergate?

    There were no liberal babies at my playgroup.

  62. 62
    slide says:

    the brilliance of MacBucket head:

    And you guys complain about FoxNews and Rassmussen? Wow

    .huh? what does that supposed to mean? Pollkataz poll of polls is just that. They take ALL poll numbers and graph the data. That seems to be as un-biased as you can get.

  63. 63
    slide says:

    more bucket head stupidity:

    Some polls just seem lazy and stupid, like presidential approval numbers. “Approval” is a subjective idea with no standard, so as a metric, it’s fairly useless

    of course a poll measures “subjective” feelings. Thats what polls do. The fact that they have been asking exactly the same question regarding Presidential approval for years and years and years makes it very useful. We can get a real idea by looking at trends and historical data.

  64. 64

    Bush and Cheney and Rove do not care about the poll numbers. If they did, they would change their behavior and do all sorts of popular little things like the famous Dick Morris triangulation schemes (school uniforms, etc.). But they aren’t, and they won’t.

    Why? Because they don’t give a shit about the polls, which is why I really don’t, either.

    I disagree just a tad. Rove does care about the poll numbers because it’s certainly made him go public on the 2006 midterm playbook (which is to make the Dems look weak on Terror).

    There’s a group that does care about the polls: Congress. The GOP Republicans are looking at that 35 percent approval rating and growing mistrust people have over the Abramoff scandals, which is all driving them to make those half-hearted and loophole-friendly reform platforms they’ve tossed out there. And despite all the Democratic missteps the Republicans have got to be worried about this midterm election, and if Bush/Cheney/Rove aren’t worried then they’re clueless: if the Dems get control of even one of the houses in Congress all of their hiding attempts with Katrina and 9/11 and domestic wiretapping documents won’t last long.

  65. 65
    Faux News says:

    DougJ is being remarkably coy about his nomination for Balloon Juice Moderator. Perhaps ppGaz has some sort of stealth campaign using embarassing personal information about DougJ? Such as DougJ is a Vegan who works for a meat company.

    I have to consult with my fellow kool aid drinkerson Red State about this. I don’t like it. Nope, not one bit. Something just a’int right.

  66. 66
    simon says:

    MC and Clever,

    Media Matters also takes apart that UCLA study pretty well here.

  67. 67
    Lizzy says:

    In other words, Bush, Cheney and Rove don’t care about the country either.

  68. 68

    This administration CLEARLY does not give two hoots in hell about poll numbers.

    I’m surprised that you actually bought into that talking point, John.

    You do know that the Bush White House spends the most money on polling and has done more polls that any previous Administration, don’t you?

    Yet, they don’t care about polls. Frankly, with all the polling they do, I believe that they want to take the country as far to the right as they can and still be able to get away with it. So they poll issues to see just how far they can go before they start to lose that 40% Bush seems to be able to hang onto.

  69. 69
    ppGaz says:

    Perhaps ppGaz has some sort of stealth campaign using embarassing personal information about DougJ?

    DougJ was never in Cambodia.

  70. 70
    DougJ says:

    And you guys complain about FoxNews and Rassmussen? Wow.

    Huh? I like Rasmussen. They skew higher than other polls on approval, but they’re still useful for comparison with their own earlier results. In fact, all polls are only useful in comparison with earlier results from the same poll. My only problem with Rasmussen is that they only provide a 3-day rolling average, which isn’t enough. Also, they haven’t been around long enough for real historical comparisons.

    All pollkatz does is average a bunch of poll together. You can look at his data. What do his political beliefs have to do with anything?

    I think that the Fox News polls on approval may be okay, too, by the way. I just don’t trust them yet.

    Mac, you’re not dumb enough to believe that Rove doesn’t care about polls. Leave that kind of stuff to scs.

  71. 71
    DougJ says:

    Should have been

    And you guys complain about FoxNews and Rassmussen? Wow.

  72. 72
    Mac Buckets says:

    Pollkataz poll of polls is just that. They take ALL poll numbers and graph the data.

    Well, not Rassmussen. That aside, Pollkatz just re-hashes all the other poll results — so why does Doug single them out as definitive?

    That seems to be as un-biased as you can get.

    Yeah, unbiased — if you like your poll results with the maximum amount of liberal spin, creative editing, and snarky anti-Bush headlines (which, I suspect, is why Doug regards them as definitive). You’ll never see a comparison of Bush’s poll numbers with Carter’s lowest, or Clinton’s lowest — but you’ll definitely find Bush compared to Nixon and to Clinton (second term only, because they were higher).

    Yeah, unbiased Kool-Aid for the thirsty Donk.

  73. 73
    Mac Buckets says:

    Mac, you’re not dumb enough to believe that Rove doesn’t care about polls.

    …which is why I never said it.

  74. 74
    DougJ says:

    Mac, I like Survey USA just as well as pollkatz or better. Look at that one if you like. They only update once a month or that’s the only poll I would look at. But you’ll find that they track each other closely anyway.

    The reason Survey USA is good is that they are a robopoll with a huge sample size.

    The reason pollkatz is good is that by averaging everything together they eliminate the problems different polls have: CBS skews very low on approval ratings (check out some of their Clinton numbers WAY below the other pollsters), ABC skews high, and Gallup is erratic in a way I don’t understand.

    One thing with pollkatz: they try to peg it to AP-Ipsos, which skews ever-so-slightly low. So I think they’ll come in about a point below SUSA on average.

    I read Mystery Pollster, too — which is very Republican.

  75. 75
    DougJ says:

    Mac, I don’t like the pollkatz comparisons, just their Bush index! You’re right that most of the features there are overtly anti-Bush. I never look at them. Okay, I see where you’re coming from with your pollkatz critique now.

  76. 76
    Mac Buckets says:

    The fact that they have been asking exactly the same question regarding Presidential approval for years and years and years makes it very useful. We can get a real idea by looking at trends and historical data.

    A “real idea” of what? As I said before, “approval” tells us nothing of value, and never has.

  77. 77
    skip says:

    Low poll numbers weaken the White House because it diminishes influence with Congress–whose members DO face reelection.

    Candidates cannot afford to buck a popular WH.

    Polls matter–albeit they are a bore.

  78. 78
    skip says:

    Low poll numbers weaken the White House because it diminishes influence with Congress–whose members DO face reelection.

    Candidates cannot afford to buck a popular WH.

    Polls matter–albeit they are a bore.

  79. 79
    DougJ says:

    A “real idea” of what? As I said before, “approval” tells us nothing of value, and never has.

    Not true. You can predict electoral results with it pretty well.

    Check this out.

    Here’s an excerpt.

    As the presidential campaign moved into its final two weeks, President Bush retained his 3+ percent lead over Senator Kerry in the Pollyvote. As of the October 18 update, Polly is predicting that Bush will garner 51.8% of the two-party vote (omitting Nader and other minor candidates). Kerry’s vote share is therefore forecast to be 48.2%.

    I didn’t cherry pick this site. This guy comes up in positions 2 and 3 if you search on “predicting elections using approval ratings”. (Number one seems to be something where you predict on the economy)

  80. 80
    DougJ says:

    My link vanished on me there.

    Link

    It’s a pain to embed links from here. Sorry.

  81. 81
    Mac Buckets says:

    Not true. You can predict electoral results with it pretty well.

    That prediction had nothing to do with an “approve/disapprove” poll, Doug — that was a head-to-head, which I think is a type of poll that actually does tell us something of value.

  82. 82
    DougJ says:

    Whoops, you’re right. I’ll find a prediction with approval ratings later. Busy here.

  83. 83
    Mac Buckets says:

    Your Opinion Polls at work:

    From ABCNews (link not working for some reason):

    Iraqi Elections, Economic Gains Lift President From Career Lows

    Dec. 19, 2005 — The recent elections in Iraq and an improved economic outlook at home have shifted public support in the president’s direction, lifting him from career lows in his job performance and personal ratings alike.

    A few hours later, from CNN:

    Poll: Iraq speeches, election don’t help Bush

    Tuesday, December 20, 2005; Posted: 12:56 a.m. EST (05:56 GMT)

    CNN — President Bush’s approval ratings do not appear to have changed significantly, despite a number of recent speeches he’s given to shore up public support for the war in Iraq and its historic elections on Thursday.

  84. 84
    DougJ says:

    That’s my point, Mac — you have to average a lot of them before you get anything meaningful.

    And didn’t I just say that the Gallup ones were especially bad?

    So I’m only finding stuff right now that says you can predict really well if you look at approval rating in combination with economic indicators and other factors. Really well means within a point or two, though.

    Approval rating is not a perfect measure of anything. Neither is slugging or on-base percentage (I’m a baseball nut), but like these stats, when you put it together with other things, you’ve got a pretty good statistic.

  85. 85
    DougJ says:

    Have to good. Good, as usual, discussing this with you, Mac. How people like you and John — who have at least 90% of their cortex remaining (to use scs’s measure of brain function) — can support Bush, I’ll never know.

  86. 86

    But I am willing to bet that other than losing support in Congress, they would not care if Bush’s approval ratings were in the teens.

    If his approval ratings ever reach the teens they most certainly will care. The reason being his ass would be impeached shortly after.

  87. 87
    Mac Buckets says:

    Neither is slugging or on-base percentage (I’m a baseball nut), but like these stats, when you put it together with other things, you’ve got a pretty good statistic.

    I’m right there with you. Pitchers and catchers report in 11 days — wheeeee! They come up with significant stats for baseball (like OPS), but we still can’t get anything better than approve/disapprove for the government? They can’t ask, “Why do you disapprove?” Are pollsters afraid that the answer would be “I dunno” or “I just do?”

    How people like you and John—who have at least 90% of their cortex remaining (to use scs’s measure of brain function)—can support Bush, I’ll never know.

    Because of the alternative? I don’t support a dude (nor do I hate the other dude) — I support policies. I’m the first person to say that a Masturbating Bear should’ve been able to beat a horrible Candidate Bush in 2004, but I’m glad the Donks couldn’t pull it off.

  88. 88
    Pooh says:

    I’m a VORP guy myself. (Speaking of baseball, a strong case can be made the Red Sox upgraded in CF this year, for far less money. Go Theo…)

  89. 89
    DougJ says:

    I agree that the state of stats on polling is abysmal, Mac. There should be a way of asking a battery of questions and getting something out of it that would predict things better.

  90. 90
    BadTux says:

    Well, if the polls were in the teens, they might get concerned, because that would make the pressure on Congress to impeach Bush virtually irresistable. But you’re right, Bush is President, and short of impeachment (which is not happening unless Bush’s polls get to the low teens), he is President until January 2009, regardless of what the polls read. Frankly, I think Dear Leader is more interested in resting and relaxing in Crawford than in anything to do with polls at the moment. Presidentin’ is hard work, y’know?

    — Badtux the Snarky Penguin

  91. 91
    Sojourner says:

    No problemo.

    Bush……………..62,040,606 …..51%…….286

    Kerry……………..59,028,109 …..48%…….252

    BUSH 48% 50,456,169
    GORE 48% 50,996,116

    Dumb ass.

  92. 92
    Sojourner says:

    Forget it, John. Polls provide a targeted view of how the American people feel on specific issues. They are the reality check on those who claim that Bush has a mandate to do anything more than wipe his own butt.

  93. 93
    MC says:

    Clever and Simon:

    I just got a copy of the study. E-mail me if you’re interested

  94. 94
    Mike says:

    Theres a difference between not caring about polls and not caring about what people think. Bush and Cheney don’t give a damn what you want, but they want you to think they’re on your side. All they think about are the polls. That’s why “private accounts” became “personal” and we’ve got the “Clear Skies” initiative and the “Death tax”. Karl Rove’s whole job is to come up with nice sounding phrases to push the polls in their direction. Don’t forget that 911 changed everything and we wouldn’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.

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