The last few days have been rough for Team Obama. Their guy lost the anti-conscience mandate debate, took a major job approval hit, and is trailing the Republican frontrunner in a hypothetical direct match-up, even amidst lengthy and bruising GOP primary. Obama's campaign manager has blasted out a frantic email to supporters warning that -- gasp -- The One might lose this thing:
In his email, Messina cited a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll which found Romney barely eking out Obama in a head-to-head matchup. "If the general election were held today, President Obama would lose to Mitt Romney -- according to the latest poll from Washington Post-ABC News," Messina wrote in the email. "We cannot underestimate someone like Romney who has shown he will spend and say anything to win."
Translation: Be very afraid and give us money. In the face of this spate of adversity, it was only a matter of time before some mainsteam media outlet concocted a happy poll to buck up their fellow Obama supporters. With some of the usual suspects (WaPo/CBS/NYT) out of the picture this round, the hacktastic task fell to Reuters, and boy, they did not disappoint:
For the first time since early July, more Americans approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing than disapprove, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll that shows his approval rating now at 50 percent. The poll, taken March 8-11 on the heels of reports that 227,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in February, indicates that Obama's rating has risen by 2 percentage points during the past month. The percentage of Americans who disapprove of the Democratic president was 48 percent, down from 49 percent in February.
Wow! With every other poll headed in the opposite direction (friendly reminder: these trends will rise and fall over the coming eight months), Reuters rides to the rescue and assures Obamaland that everything's going to be just fine. The president has rebounded to a relatively strong 50 percent plateau, and all is right with the world. How did Reuters arrive at such a pleasant conclusion, you ask? Poll magic, buried at the very bottom of the story:
The Reuters/Ipsos telephone poll of 1,084 adults included 554 respondents who identified themselves as Democrats, 421 as Republicans, and 109 as independents. The total respondents included 937 registered voters.
In a cycle of pathetic poll samples, this one may take the cake. Among those surveyed, 51 percent (!) were Democrats, 39 percent were Republicans and just 10 percent were independents (a group that has broken hard against Obama lately). As a refresher, the D/R partisan breakdown in the 2010 election was 35/35. Based on that statistic, this poll oversampled Democrats by 16 points, then triumphantly announced that Barack Obama is popular again. They should be embarrassed. Come to think of it, isn't the bigger story that Obama only managed a 50 percent positive mark in a 51 percent Democrat survey?
UPDATE - A new Bloomberg poll shows the general election race tied, with Mitt Romney leading Obama by eight points among independents. Nothing to see here, folks. In the words of Harry Reid, these numbers are "meaningless:"
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday dismissed a new poll finding that President Obama's approval rating has plunged in recent weeks. The Nevada Democrat said the survey -- a joint efffort between The New York Times and CBS News is "flawed" and "meaningless," suggesting that all public polls are misleading. "This poll is so meaningless," Reid told reporters at his weekly press briefing in the Capitol. "It is trying to give the American people an idea of what 300 million people feel by testing several hundred people. The poll is flawed in so many different ways," he added,"including the way questions were asked."
Yes, CBS News asked insanely biased and "flawed" questions such as, "do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?" Whoa, feel the bias, Harry. Also, dismissing all polling because the practice only surveys a small slice of the overall population is patently ridiculous. That is simply how polling works, as career politicians like Reid are well aware.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography