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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Inside The WaPo/ABC Poll: Democrats' Worst Nightmare

The headlines regarding The Washington Post-ABC News poll just released focus on the finding that Confidence In Obama Reaches New Low.

I certainly understand why that is the headline, but only if one digs deep into the actual polling data does one get a true picture of how the nation is moving against Obama.

On Obama's approval rating (Question 1), 35 percent strongly disapprove versus 28 percent who strongly approve. The data accompanying Question No. 1 shows that the strongly approve/strongly disapprove gap has increase significantly since the beginning of the year, when the strongly disapprove responses were only 1-3 percentage points higher than strongly approve. As late as November 2009, the strongly approve numbers exceeded the strongly disapprove.

The net effect is that public sentiment is moving against Obama not only in the aggregate, but particularly in the realm of people who have strong feelings. This is consistent with what Rasmussen shows in its daily tracking poll.

Indeed, as one goes through the questions, the strength of opposition to Obama outdistances the strength of support to a much greater extent than the overall numbers. Here are some examples (strongly disapprove/strongly approve):
  • Handling of economy (Q2b: 41/20)
  • Handling of health care (Q2e: 40/27)
  • Handling of budget deficit (Q2g: 45/20)
An astonishing 90% of people have a negative view as to the state of the economy, including 46% who view the economy as "poor" (Question 23) and only 27% see the economy "getting better" versus 32% "getting worse" (Question 24).

When it came to whether government should spend to stimulate the economy, the poll asked a skewed question. Questions 25 was phrased with a clear bias in favor of a positive response, by using the words "in a way that creates jobs." Nonetheless, even with this questioning bias, people evenly split on government spending:

25. Do you think the federal government should spend more money to try to boost the economy in a way that creates jobs, or do you think that whether or not jobs are created should be left to the private sector?

Should Spend More - 48

Left to Private Sector - 48

No Opinion - 4

Interestingly, in Question 26, 18% respondents who answered that the government should spend more money, then changed their minds if the spending would increase the deficit.

So net-net, 57% of people (either initially or after the follow up question) were against increased government spending even if it were spent "in a way that creates jobs." Questions 25 and 26 demonstrate the strong opposition to government spending which increases the deficit.

Last, but perhaps more important, the poll tested self-identification, similar to what Gallup has been doing. As with Gallup, the poll found that substantially more people identify themselves as conservative than liberal (Question 908a):
Liberal - 22
Conservative - 39
Moderate - 35
So what does this poll show, when all the questions are taken into consideration? The Democrats' worst nightmare:
An increasingly conservative nation moving strongly against the two foundations of the Democratic Party: Government stimulus spending and Obama.
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  1. They should have compromised when they had the chance, but no, they had to double down.

  2. Big and small business has no confidence in this administration or the road they continue to drag us down.

    New fiscal year started July 1. Watch out for more layoffs. There is no recovery summer, unless your completely delusional.

    My DH just walked through the door with the cardboard white box in his hands, 2 hours after leaving for work. Worked for one of the strongest company on the stock market. THEY ARE DOUBLING DOWN------VERY BAD NEWS FOR THE ECONOMIC FORECAST.

  3. yes, but the one thing that Rasmussen doesn't ask: isn't GWBush responsible for all this mess?
    that would have settled all the questions as to why our fearful leader has such low ratings......

  4. Keep on smoking whatever it is you are smoking there Fr Jim. It'll dull your pain come November....

  5. All dems running for office just shot to the top of my "People I'm glad I ain't" list.

  6. Continuing to blame George Bush for everything after four years of a Democratic Congress and two years of a Democratic president just comes across as petulant whining. If Obama and the Democrats can't man up after all this time and take responsibility for their failed policies, then they deserve the beating they're going to get in November.

  7. Am I missing something, the liberal conservative and moderate percentages add up to 96 percent-what happened to the other four percent? Did they shave that figure from conservatives in order to boost moderates and liberals?
    As for the strongly approve/disapprove, Rasmussen has had double digits (high double digit) strongly disapprove/approve numbers for Obama for the past year, yet the ComPost has it only at 7 pts difference. This makes this poll again appear to be seriously skewed towards democraps.

  8. The biggest mystery is how 4 out of every 10 people in this country still think he is doing a good job.

    Are we at a point where 40% of the people rely on the government for basically everything? If so, that is very troubling.

  9. @Theresa,

    I am so sorry to hear your news. I hope your husband will find another job...

    Having had this kind of shock in my life, I do understand the emotions involved.