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Milford Beacon
From the Will Rogers quote, \x34All politics is applesauce.\x34
Here’s how Obama’s overall disapproval ratings are so often misintepreted
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Pat Cunningham offers an unabashedly liberal perspective on national politics. A note of caution: The language gets a little salty on some of the sites to which this blog links. So, don't say you weren't warned. By the way, this blog's name is ...
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Liberal Views
Pat Cunningham offers an unabashedly liberal perspective on national politics. A note of caution: The language gets a little salty on some of the sites to which this blog links. So, don't say you weren't warned. By the way, this blog's name is inspired by the Will Rogers quote, \x34All politics is applesauce.\x34 In 41 years as a print and broadcast journalist, most of those years with the Rockford (Ill.) Register Star, Pat has covered national politics under eight American presidents. He's attended 10 national political conventions, Republican and Democratic alike, and has interviewed countless prominent political players, including Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush.
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When the media report on Barack Obama’s job-approval ratings, they often convey the impression that the negative numbers represent public rejection of the president’s liberalism.

But that’s simply not true.

Polls that bother to ask the right questions almost invariably find that some of the public disappointment with Obama is based on the perception that he’s not liberal enough.

Take, for example, a CNN poll this past winter in which 56 percent of respondents said they disapproved of the president’s performance. The right-wing noise machine was quick to trumpet the numbers as evidence that the lefty in the White House had become increasingly unacceptable to the American people. But, in truth, only 40 percent of respondents said Obama’s “policies and actions” were too liberal. One in five respondents who disapproved of the job he was doing said he wasn’t liberal enough.

When you take that factor into consideration, the president’s standing in the latest polls is seen in a different light.

There are two major polling organizations, Gallup and Rasmussen, who conduct three-day tracking polls on Obama’s job performance. Every 24 hours, figures from the most recent day are added to the equation, and those from three days ago are dropped. This results in a rolling average that measures the up-and-down trends in the president’s public standing.

As of this morning, the latest numbers from Rasmussen (which, by the way, has a reputation or leaning rightward), show that 50 percent approve of Obama’s job performance, while 49 percent disapprove. Gallup’s figures show 50-percent disapproval and 45-percent approval.

The difference in those two polls is not especially significant when you take into account the margins of error.

But the important point to bear in mind is that even the disapproval numbers don’t entirely represent rejection of Obama’s liberal bent. Some of the disapproval is based on the sense that the liberal bent is not strong enough.

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