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Approval Ratings

April 24th, 2014

A big Fox News headline this week:

Fox News Poll: Many voters say Obama lies to the country on important matters

The article begins with the statement, “About six in ten American voters think Barack Obama lies to the country on important matters some or most of the time.” They of course use a dimly-lit photo of Obama looking shifty and glum.

However, in the very next paragraph, you find that only 37%, or a bit above the Republican base, think that he lies “most of the time”; 24% said “some of the time.” Since “some of the time” could mean a very small amount, it’s rather disingenuous to group those together. Not to mention that probably the majority of people who belong to either of those groups replied as they did in large part because of the concerted effort of Fox News itself over the past six years to paint Obama as a liar and much worse.

A telling point: look at the polls taken by Fox when Bush was at this point in his presidency—a presidency marked especially by the lies the president told—and you will find that they didn’t even ask the question back then.

The article eventually gets around to noting Obama’s approval/disapproval at 42/51. These numbers are buried in the story, however, as they are an improvement in the Fox universe over the 38 and 40% Fox had him at in March.

That’s Fox, though, which normally skews to the right; Gallup has Obama’s numbers at 45/49. Interestingly, when asked to state a general “favorable or unfavorable” opinion of Obama, the Fox poll has him at 45/51.

What is amusing is that, typically, these polls also compare the current president with past presidents at the same time. Where was George W. Bush at this point in his presidency?

He was at 33%, according to a Fox News poll taken in mid-April 2006. Bush’s approval/disapproval was 33/57. Bill Clinton was doing much better, in the mid-60’s (63/31) at this point. They sure don’t mention that. And while Reagan was doing about as well as Clinton by this time, by the same time a year later, his numbers dropped to those Obama is experiencing now.

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