Patterico's Pontifications


How Much Longer Can Obama Defy Political Gravity?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 4:37 pm

[Posted by Karl]

ABC News Political Director Amy Walter wants to know. After noting that Obama’s overall job approval ratings in various polls are seven to nine percent higher than his approval numbers on the economy, Walter observes:

Obama’s job approval ratings defy political gravity. The only question now, is if they can do so for much longer.

Psychologists talk about “cognitive dissonance,” the tension that people feel when their thoughts are inconsistent with one another. In this case, it’s feeling as if the president is doing a pretty lousy job on the economy, but still giving him decent (though not glowing) marks when it comes to his overall presidency.

At some point, psychologists will tell you, relief from the tension comes only when you try to restore consistency.

In this case, it means that either voters need to start feeling better about Obama’s handling of the economy or they will start to feel worse about his overall ability to handle of his job.

Walter gives Pres. George H.W. Bush as an example of a weak economy eventually drawing inflated, post-Gulf War I ratings back to Earth. She also cites Ronald Reagan’s 1984 showing as an example of the same phenomenon in reverse.

However, Nate Silver answered Walter’s question last month, with a better Reagan example.

Silver began with an obervation similar to Walter’s:

Since 1974, CNN and Time Magazine have routinely posed a question in their polls that asks respondents to tell them “how well are things going in the country today”. So far this year, an average of 39 percent of respondents have said things are going “very well” or “fairly well”, while an average of 60 percent have said they’re going “pretty badly” or “very badly”. By contrast, Mr. Obama’s approval has averaged 52 percent so far this year in CNN surveys, against 46 percent disapproval.

Silver hypothesizes that some of the difference is due to: (1) people still blaming Pres. George W. Bush for the recession; Obama being a first-term president; and (3) Obama having high personal favorability ratings. But on the issue of political gravity, Silver posts a chart showing that the “going well” number and presidential approval have historically gone into near-perfect alignment in presidential election years. That’s why Silver began his blog column with a different Reagan example than Walter used — 1980:

Mr. Carter — despite approval ratings in the 30s or low 40s — was holding his own against Ronald Reagan. Some polls, even well after Labor Day, showed the horse race to be tied or even had Mr. Carter with a slim lead.

Mr. Reagan would win overwhelmingly, however, claiming 44 states (even Massachusetts and New York) while limiting Mr. Carter to just 41 percent of the vote.

How much longer can Pres. Obama defy political gravity? If 1980 is any guide, well into the election season… but probably not all the way to Election Day.


79 Responses to “How Much Longer Can Obama Defy Political Gravity?”

  1. I think what we’re seeing is the Bradley Effect.

    When people are polled about their direct opinion of Obama, I think a significant percentage now are lying, and saying good things they don’t feel.

    Steven Den Beste (99cfa1)

  2. Steven–I think the same thing. And am very hopeful that what they say in the privacy of the voting booth next Nov. is going to be quite different from what they are saying to pollsters today.

    elissa (576f92)

  3. what are his chances?
    empty set divided by
    square root of f*ck all

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

  4. I think a lot of people have no relationship to president bumble whatsoever they only have a relationship to that half-remembered Obama guy from the campaign in 2008.

    He just doesn’t have a lot of presence and his media has to spend so much energy concealing what a cowardly douche he is that they don’t have a lot of energy for maintaining the phony campaign image.

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  5. asks how can we not
    remember oh eight campaign?
    people rue the day!

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

  6. Barack Obama
    is the biggest wet blanket
    on job growth EVAH!

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

  7. Hey! Barry’s having a big 50th birthday bash in Chicago on Aug 3! That’s the day after the big debt ceiling default deadline. I don’t think we’re going to attend, though.

    Pssst–It’s being kept kind of low key, but rumor has it that the party is really a multi tiered fundraiser.

    elissa (576f92)

  8. he’s a “Leading Light”?
    you know he’s an imbecile
    fifty seven states

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

  9. I get no pleasure
    in saying you kiss my ass
    mister president

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

  10. Just who is going to beat Obama? Romney? He has the best shot. But….

    Romney is the anti-christ to the Tparty.

    Herman Cain said Romney can’t win because ‘he hasn’t explained his religion.’

    We just had a Fox News host say Romney is obviously ‘not a christian.’

    That won’t go over with the Tvangelicals. Romney is the GOPs best shot … and he’ll be shot down for sure.

    Sarge (16d6d6)

  11. colonel have vapors
    all lightheaded from calling
    just like he see them

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

  12. evangelicals
    can kiss colonel’s pimpled ass
    and twice on Sunday!

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

  13. Obama gives us
    more grey hair than on his head
    because he the Prez

    elissa (576f92)

  14. the smart voters will
    support person who survives
    Repub primaries

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

  15. one thing for certain
    Big Zero re-elected
    America toast

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

  16. There will be a significant percent of people, especially women, who will not tell some stranger over the phone that they disapprove of the black man.

    j curtis (493573)

  17. Sarge like getting TBagged by Tvangelicals.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  18. “sarge” is kind of a douchenozzle.

    JD (318f81)

  19. _________________________________________

    I think what we’re seeing is the Bradley Effect.

    I don’t believe that applies in today’s era. If anything, the dynamics of decades ago have been turned on their head. I’m referring to the flip side of past scenarios, in which a non-conformist (ie, a person who was different from the majority group in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, etc) — when applying for a job — had to be not just as good as the person he or she was competing against, he had to be better.

    It’s an off-shoot of another illustration of just how different things are today compared with decades ago. Back in the 1950s, actress Ingrid Bergman was ostracized by the Hollywood community, no less, for having a child out of wedlock. Over 50 years later, a good part of the mainstream establishment in general — far beyond the boundaries of flaky show business — treats Bill Clinton like a beloved symbol of the Democrat Party.

    So if a large portion of this society has gone from one extreme to the other when it comes to single mothers, illegitimacy and office interns (much less talk about sexual harassment and even rape), it only stands to reason that a guy like Obama not only won’t be held to a higher standard (and rightly so) — much less an equal one — he’ll be held to whichever standard fits a modern-day, corrupted, sloppy version of “root for the underdog!”

    Mark (411533)

  20. Sarge is just a concerned Christian Conservative troll.

    elissa (576f92)

  21. By the way, the Dem ticket won’t be just Obama/Biden.

    It’s going to be Obama/Cuomo. Far harder to beat.

    Sarge (16d6d6)

  22. yeah well colonel see
    your mincing cuomo raise you
    Marco Rubio

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

  23. sarge a flea collar
    or sarge a fleatickbagger
    now you be the judge

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

  24. oh colonel forgot
    to say SheilaJerksonLee(D)
    she can kiss ass too

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

  25. From your lips fingertips to God’s ear…

    Although I must admit that I’ve been having a similar “feel”, intuitive response that is, as I felt back in the late-70s; when I lived through this the first time.

    Great post, as usual, Karl.

    Bob Reed (5f2db5)

  26. Gasp are you insinuating Ovomit can’t walk on water?

    BTW sarge is just another romney worshipping tool.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  27. The GOP needs the Kock Bros. to balance out that huge warchest Obama is accumulating. Or, they can continue with their present strategy to bring down the American economy so people will get hurt and blame Obama. The polls are looking so good in that regard, however.

    Sarge (16d6d6)

  28. 1,2. I’d add that after correction of these results for poor sampling and population estimation, the floor in JEF’s performance assessment will be his popular vote ceiling, e.g., roughly 37-39% today and falling.

    Another route to Silver’s summary.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  29. 27. Obama’s $47 Million raised are less than Shrub had at this point in 2003.

    57% will not vote for D*ck no matter how much he spends. A good third of them will not vote for Mittens regardless.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  30. Comment by elissa — 7/18/2011 @ 5:11 pm

    Will there be anyone there to tell us how much the wine costs?

    AD-RtR/OS! (c63dcd)

  31. Oh noes … The Koch Brothers!!!!!!!! Yu have quickly slipped beyond parody, “sarge”.

    JD (318f81)

  32. Comment by Mark — 7/18/2011 @ 5:43 pm

    The allegation, accusation, or implication, of racism, is still a powerful force that is to be avoided at almost all costs.
    The Bradley Effect still lives.

    AD-RtR/OS! (c63dcd)

  33. Here’s a little thought exercise:
    Many say that Obama will raise $1B in campaign contributions towards his re-election.
    Let’s say, for the purpose of argument, that he raises $500M, exclusive of any funds raised by, and pledged to, the DNC.
    Come the Dog Days of Summer, and his poll numbers are in the proverbial toilet, what if he decides “I don’t need this $hit!” and steps aside (Truman, LBJ, redux).
    Can he keep the money if he pays income tax on it?

    AD-RtR/OS! (c63dcd)

  34. CBS News poll
    gee I guess that settles that!
    ha ha ha ha HAH!

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

  35. Kock brothers?

    That is you and Weiner’s new rock band name.

    So your pretending to be a Romneybot.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  36. something tell colonel
    sarge would like to “anger f*ck”
    both of the Koch Bro’s

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

  37. no… colonel have that
    wrong… wait colonel have backwards
    sarge swinging playah

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

  38. c’mon mod’s! that post
    number thirty eight way much
    too funny to kill!

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

  39. talkin ’bout baseball
    and batters crowdin’ home plate
    bean balls not snarfin’

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

  40. NBC News Anchor asks Dalai Lama the proper way to wipe her arse.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  41. @ Koam–

    Gotta give the Dalai credit. His robust laugh (right before he essentially told her, “don’t you get me involved in your petty political party squabbles”) suggests he thought Ann Curry’s query was among the dumbest and most inappropriate questions he had ever been asked.

    elissa (576f92)

  42. Hillbilly music professors should not give up their day jobs.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  43. Zero makes Dalai
    sneak out White House back door past
    garbage. Lama pissed

    elissa (576f92)

  44. Generation Opportunity recently commissioned a poll of young Hispanics (ages 18-29). The survey was conducted in April and has a margin of error +/- 4%. The results are striking: young Hispanics, like young Americans generally, want opportunity and understand that opportunity comes from the private sector:

    * By nearly a 3:1 ratio, Hispanic young adults prefer “reducing federal spending” (69%) to “raising taxes on individuals” (27%) in order to balance the federal budget.

    * 70% of Hispanic young adults would decrease federal spending if given the chance to set America’s fiscal priorities.

    * A 57%-majority of Hispanics agree that “if taxes on business profits were reduced, companies would be more likely to hire.”

    * In a separate question, a 56%-majority concurred “the economy grows best when individuals are allowed to create businesses without government interference.”

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  45. Apparently, Sarge missed the part where the CBS poll has a D+11 sample.

    Karl (1c1b70)

  46. Obama forgot he was born on August 4th.

    Obviously he hasn’t seen his own birth certificate.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  47. No, Karl, for Sarge/Powers/Robert/Yelverton, an intentionally biased fake push poll is the be-all and end-all of debate.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  48. “sarge” is a booger-eating sock puppet.

    JD (318f81)

  49. “I truly believe that the day I’m inaugurated . . . not only does the country look at itself differently, but the world looks at America differently… the world will have confidence that I am listening to them, and that our future and our security is tied up with our ability to work with other countries in the world.”

    – Barack Obama during Hopey Changey Campaign, 2008

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

  50. Comment by ColonelHaiku — 7/18/2011 @ 8:54 pm

    Colonel–you should at least have the decency to warn people before you post nausea inducing carp like that.

    elissa (576f92)

  51. O so dreamy he
    cause trace of testosterone
    to appear in libs

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

  52. Agree with Mark @ #19 that the “Bradley Effect” is ancient history, if it ever really existed at all.

    Another, simpler explanation of the approval numbers is the way the questions are asked, and of whom. Americans tend to support the President as the symbol of the country even when they disapprove of his policies. Also, this is a question invariably asked of “all adults” samples, since everyone is entitled to an opinion whether they vote or not. Those who aren’t registered or likely voters are disproportionately likely to be uninformed or misinformed and to be more Democratic leaning than the actual voters will be.

    Estragon (ec6a4b)

  53. “When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big league ball players, the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. Now, I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. Because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.”

    Sure, it’s from a movie. And, sure, it’s silly, now a joke.

    Once upon a time it was true, to some extent, because it actually happened.

    Now we put our faith in articulate losers who promise the comfort of a guaranteed social compact impossible to fulfill.

    All I can think is: What a waste, what a sorry people we have become.

    Ag80 (8a4204)

  54. Republican congressman’s twitter account hacked. Who would have done such a thing?

    U.S. Capitol police and twitter are investigating. Twitter is the devil.

    elissa (576f92)

  55. == Americans tend to support the President as the symbol of the country even when they disapprove of his policies.==

    Righto. Just like they loyally respected and supported Bush in polls.

    elissa (576f92)

  56. He just doesn’t have a lot of presence and his media has to spend so much energy concealing what a cowardly douche he is that they don’t have a lot of energy for maintaining the phony campaign image.

    I have a feeling this is going to be his primary campaign argument.

    “Don’t you remember how good you felt voting for Obama in 2008? Don’t you want to feel that good again?

    Obama/Biden 2012”

    Another Chris (c983db)

  57. The GOP needs the Kock Bros. to balance out that huge warchest Obama is accumulating.

    LOL at this bit of goonfiction. Funny how leftists just recently noticed the Koch brothers, even though their political influence isn’t any more or less now than it was in the past.

    Apparently, passive-aggressive nerd losers like Sarge can only maintain one boogeyman at a time. It’s just a shame that we all have to suffer for his daddy issues.

    Another Chris (c983db)

  58. Romney is the GOPs best shot …

    Last I heard, dropping LSD is still illegal. Better stay off the street until it wears off, dude…

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (0a40ce)

  59. Obama’s victory in 2012 is every bit as inevitable as Hillary’s victory was in 2008.

    ropelight (69434e)

  60. If not Obama, then whom can we expect from for a robust economic.

    Dever (efd807)

  61. Romney is the GOPs best shot … and he’ll be shot down for sure.

    Comment by Sarge — 7/18/2011 @ 5:16 pm

    You know, if you’re so sure Romney is not capable of winning enough support to win, then you’re not really so sure he’s got the best shot.

    I disagree. I think Romney would enjoy sufficient support from the right if he were nominated. He would have in 2008 as well. He didn’t win the primary, so the right never rallied behind him, but they would have. Better than they did for Mccain in 2008 (though that isn’t a criticism of the right… Obama won the middle).

    Romney is not my choice. But he is a skilled politician. He knows the real game is in beating Obama with clear narratives that are true and easy to understand.

    What we need is someone with Romney’s gameplan, but more experience in high office, with fewer black marks on their report card. I think Rick Perry is a much better candidate than Romney is. So rest easy.

    But like Karl is (apparently) saying, it’s really more about Obama. The 2012 election will probably be all about Obama, unless the right nominates someone who is too controversial. I still see many Obama stickers (in Austin), but I have notice much less of the cubicle decor. People actually are taking down that stuff. I never hear anyone openly lionizing him, and haven’t in some time. I used to hear that all the time.

    My anecdotal read is that a lot of moderate democrat voters realize Obama is not the solution to anything, and it was silly for anyone to ever think he was. Some of them will pull an Althouse and pretend they were right all along based on some oddball analysis. But I think at some point enough moderates are going to be openly commenting on what a disaster this presidency has been.

    If that starts happening, everyone is going to want to dump on Obama louder than the last guy did. Like with Nixon or Carter. I don’t think this will mirror Karl’s quoted late horse race between Carter and Reagan. People are too vocal for that in today’s world. I think soon after the GOP has a candidate, and Obama’s mudslinging has really ramped up, it will be obvious that Obama is going to lose.

    Dustin (b7410e)

  62. I think O’s poll numbers reflect the extent of the media’s power. the only thing keeping him afloat is the media’s continual lickspittle and kid-gloves coverage.

    If it were a GOP president, the media would be gunning all out for him every day, and the poll numbers would be around 30% right now.

    Monkeytoe (5234ab)

  63. Well shucks as recently as January I heard a resaonably intelligent person say that Obama was a great orator. Not that the guy had actually listened to one of O’Bumble’s stumbling and fumbling off the teleprompter.

    But a lot of guys still buy into the myth.

    Mike Myers (0e06a9)

  64. “Romney is the Gangsta’s best shot”

    Just like Bernanke is killing Cain’s shot, GM, Wall St., and McConnell are killing Romney.

    The Elite’s sole Goldilocks, not-Romney, option, T-Paw is polling behind Newt nationwide.

    Perry/Palin/Bachmann/Cain will sweep up 80% of the primary votes and name the winner regardless of party-assigned electors.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  65. Apparently, Sarge missed the part where the DCCC hit up the evil Koch Bros. for money.

    Karl (1c1b70)

  66. Wow, SPQR.

    That is an amazing link.

    I guess Wynn Star won’t be getting any Obamacare waivers.

    Sheesh. He’s got it completely right, too. Think what you will of DADT or abortion, but at the end of the day, even if you love Obama’s leftism on many issues, you’re still going to be worried about hiring a lot of employees right now. You still know he’s failing to lead and that what he has accomplished makes it harder to invest boldly in this country.

    It’s almost going to be too easy for the next administration. As soon as we have some kind of stability, investors are going to be back. That’s why Pawlenty has such lofty growth predictions. He’s probably right.

    Dustin (b7410e)

  67. That is not the first time Wynn has blasted Obama.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  68. Romney the flip-flopper is establishment.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  69. ___________________________________________

    Steve Wynn not as thrilled with Obama as he was.

    If anyone ever is puzzled why people can be so contradictory, or squishy, or devoid of common sense on occasion — or go into the election booth and treat his or her ballot in a foolish way — notice the following comments from Steve Wynn.

    [Obama] keeps making speeches about redistribution and maybe we ought to do something to businesses that don’t invest, their holding too much money. We haven’t heard that kind of talk except from pure socialists. Everybody’s afraid of the government and there’s no need soft peddling it, it’s the truth. It is the truth. And that’s true of Democratic businessman and Republican businessman, and I am a Democratic businessman and I support Harry Reid.

    That’s why it pays to always be aware of the foibles and follies of human nature. Why it’s important to realize that ideology disconnected from good tactics and a lack of awareness of what makes people tick often leads to idiocy along the lines of: “My way or the highway! If the politician I rate as perfect isn’t on the ballot, I’ll sit out the election! I’ll get my choice in the future!”

    Or: “The person I believe will be fantastic for the presidency is an opinion I’m sure will be shared by at least 70 percent of my fellow Americans!”

    A dismissal of good tactics and the quirks found in we humans — not to mention information that results in the observer being totally ignorant about, for example, the dishonesty and hucksterism of a woman running for office in Delaware — leads to situations like Christine O’Donnell, etc.

    Also, keep people like Steve Wynn in mind when poring over data released by pollsters. IOW, never forget that a fairly large number of people buy into the idea that liberalism imbues one with humaneness, compassion and sophistication. Or that liberalism is a great way to gin the system so that the populace’s comfortability, greed and laziness will be nicely accommodated in upcoming years.

    “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” – Benjamin Franklin

    Mark (411533)

  70. Duh……….wynning.

    Sorry I had to say that.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  71. Since none of you idoits is smart enough to get it, let me help you A-HOLES out.

    ALL BLACKS SUPPORT OBAMA. Subtract that from any poll and Obama is in the 30’s.

    gus (36e9a7)

  72. Subtract that from any poll and Obama is in the 30′s.

    But blacks are real people, so their support for Obama really does count. They really will vote for him. Their approval of Obama may largely be racist and I may reject their reasoning, but they still approve of him when asked, for the most part.

    So I’m not understanding why your removal of their opinions from the polls is helpful to us A-HOLES.

    Dustin (b7410e)

  73. I think what we’re seeing is the Bradley Effect.

    That would be a lot more believable if lots of people hadn’t been saying exactly the same thing in 2008. It was wishful thinking then, and I’m afraid it’s still wishful thinking today. All those idiots who say they like him are telling the truth, and they’d vote for him again no matter what he did.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  74. Sarge is just a concerned Christian Conservative troll.

    Indeed. The telltale is the conflation of the TEA party movement with the religious right. While many people involved in the TEA party movement are religious, it has nothing to do with religion or with social issues. It’s about taxes and spending and deficits and debt, and nothing else.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  75. By the way, the Dem ticket won’t be just Obama/Biden.

    It’s going to be Obama/Cuomo. Far harder to beat.

    Maybe. I still think it’s going to be Clinton/Steele. Which may be even harder to beat, but so what?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  76. Milhouse, Sarge/Powers/Yelverton conflates the TEA party with religious right because he is a frothing bigot who hates religious people.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  77. sarge first vote cast for
    Carter then malaise came left
    him with gomer pyles

    ColonelHaiku (cc5c75)

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2108 secs.