Stop the presses (or the tweets)! Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's numbers are falling! Why not concern ourselves with that as 2012 nears. What about Obama's numbers right now? They are tanking -- big-time. A recent "news" article stated, "While the president remains personally popular ..."
Certainly the Gallup Poll -- the go-to polls for most cable news shows -- put Obama's "favorability ratings" among "adults" fairly high. There is, however, another prominent and respected polling firm: the Rasmussen Reports.
Look at CNN, the organization that markets itself as real, nonpartisan news. In a recent three-month period, there were 26 instances in which a CNN newscast used the words "Obama" and "approval" and "Gallup." But the words "Obama" and "approval" and "Rasmussen" appeared in only one CNN news show. What's the diff?
Gallup samples "adults." This includes people, especially the young and mostly liberal, who feel strongly about lots of things -- until it's time to show up and vote. Rasmussen, on the other hand, samples "likely voters" -- the folks the politicians give a rip about. They vote them in office or throw them out.
Numbers go up and down. But next year -- a semi-eternity in politics -- the entire House goes up for re-election, as does a third of the Senate. As we approach this first referendum on Obama, politicians, if not CNN, pay attention to the "likelies."
How are the likelies liking him now?
Likely voters now put Obama at less than 50 percent, below the 53 percent who voted for him in November. Of his performance, 29 percent say they "strongly approve." But 39 percent say they "strongly disapprove." That's a minus 10. It's down a tick from a recent minus 11-point gap -- the worst ever for Obama. A president's ability to push through his agenda turns on whether congresspersons back him. And they back him when they expect the voters to back them.
The President recently gave a health care-dominated press conference, leaving many more confused than before: Who pays? How much? What about the threat to quality? How can people "keep their coverage if they're happy with it" if their employer dumps the plan in favor of a (initially) cheaper government alternative? Direct and indirect references to the Bush administration were frequent, always a winner in focus groups. Meanwhile, Obama flies around the country pressuring Congress to meet his ever-shifting self-imposed deadline to "get health care done."