Being fair as a pollster isn't that hard if you don't have an agenda. The same can be said of opinion pieces, as long as you can persuade readers to join you in weighing all sides of an issue. So here's my go at interjecting reality into some contemporary issues that often have been distorted.
1) President Obama's approval ratings. CBS News has it at 51 percent, with 37 percent disapproving of the job he's doing. The rest are undecided. Ludicrous polls like this rarely draw the criticism in Washington political and media circles that polls by, say, Rasmussen do. Rasmussen sometimes shows Obama's approval rating as lagging his disapproval rating by as much as 10 points -- the opposite extreme of the CBS poll.
The average of all national polls shows the president's approval rating at around 48 percent and his disapproval at 45 percent. So while he is not the revered hero CBS would have us believe, he is also not considered an abject disaster by the public. (CBS polls appear to under-sample Republicans, based on the generally accepted axiom that partisan identification in America is now about evenly split.) Suffice to say Obama is not Mr. Popular right now.
2) A new Gallup Poll says that GOP voter intensity -- how excited Republicans are about turning out to vote in this year's elections -- has dropped. This is true enough, but so what? There's nothing now in the news to equal the health care legislation that so enflamed Republican passions. Besides, the same poll shows Democrats' enthusiasm about voting to be about 10 points below that of Republicans.
For the GOP, the good news is that by the time campaign TV ads start running and we're well into the fall election season, Republican voter intensity likely will be sky-high. The bad news is that despite many Washington insiders saying the GOP will take majority control of the House, my best guess for now is that some significant new political development may have to arise for that to happen.
3) Most media underplayed the fact that the man who tried to bomb Times Square has ties to Islamic terrorists. This shouldn't just be a part of the story, it should be THE story. Had the bomb worked, the Gulf Oil spill -- horrendous as it has been -- would be below the fold on newspaper front pages.
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