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Obama Unfiltered

February 28th, 2009

People were making a big deal recently about how Obama’s job ratings had fallen to only 63%. Some dishonestly tried to make the claim that he had fallen 15% by comparing the 63% against pre-inaguration polls asking how Obama was handling the transition, when in fact, Obama started his presidency off at 68%. And, as it turns out, Obama is back up to 67% now. The thing is, save for his most recent dip to 59%, the variations are pretty much within the margin of error, and have been going up and down several times since Obama took office. Here’s a chart showing Gallup’s daily tracking poll:

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The trend before today did seem to be going downward, and we’ll have to see where today’s figure lies in the broader arc, whether it’ll stay that way or if this is an anomalous tick upwards.

It is also informative to see why Obama’s numbers fell at all; as it turns out, the answer is Republicans. Looking at figures going up to this week, Obama’s ratings among Democrats remained stellar, hovering at between 80 and 90%. Among Independents, he was at about 50%. And the telling point is that with Democrats and Independents, Obama’s ratings had actually gone up, not down. But look at the Republicans: Obama had fallen slightly with liberal and moderate Republicans, but dropped sharply among conservative Republicans, from 36% to 22%.


In short, Obama is not becoming less popular among Americans in general–in fact, he’s becoming more popular with the mainstream–he was only dropping amongst the far-right wing, and not surprisingly since these people are probably watching Fox News non-stop, where they are more or less constantly calling the president a treasonous communist weasel.

The surprising thing, then, is that the latest uptick in the polls came because right-wingers seemed to shake off the fog of Fox News for a moment at least, and support for Obama climbed again amongst their numbers:


While Democrats and Independents saw an uptick of 4 to 8 points since Obama’s all-time low on Feb. 21, Republicans’ approval of Obama jumped 15%, from 27 to 42%.

Something happened between those two dates to make a lot of Republicans turn around and approve Obama. So what was it?

Did Obama make a speech or something?

This is a return to something we saw during the campaign: when the American people see Obama through the prism of the right-wing press, Obama’s ratings go down; when they see Obama himself, direct and unfiltered, they remember why they like him so much. This speech was Obama’s chance to win back what the talking heads had taken. And Republicans seemed most moved by it.

Maybe it was his soaring rhetoric, maybe his bipartisan tone (subtracted from a bit by the Democrat’s over-the-top reaction to the mention of the inherited deficit), maybe the easy crowd-pleasers of how to stop the idiotic and un-American policies of the Bush administration, or maybe his constant reminder of fundamental themes such as family, responsibility, education, service, and hard work. Or maybe it was the stark contrast between Obama’s grand speech and Republican Bobby Jindal’s horrendous response. Whatever the cause, right-wingers seemed to respond very well to Obama’s speech.

This is Obama learning from Reagan, speaking directly to the people (even when technically addressing Congress), gaining those Obama Republicans. And hopefully Obama is knocking enough sense into Republicans in Congress so they won’t have the fortitude left to carry out their plan of ruining the nation so as to make the other party look bad. But we’ll have to see on that last one.

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    March 2nd, 2009 at 17:01 | #1

    well i love obama and he seems to have clear vision for its country and people

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