Tuesday, August 09, 2011


I've been very critical of the president lately, but if Gallup is right, his public supports is holding up surprisingly well. Gallup's headline yesterday on this subject was "Obama Job Approval 50% or Higher in 16 States and D.C.," but to me the key statistic was this: Obama's approval exceeds his disapproval in a total of 20 states and the District of Columbia -- and if you add up the electoral votes in these states, you get 286, more than the 270 he'll need to win next year.

There's a lot wrong with this analysis, of course. Obama's being measured on his own, not against a specific or even a generic GOP opponent. I also think, as I've said before, that Obama's general job-approval numbers may hover at a relatively high level (given the nation's travails) until a flesh-and-blood alternative to Obama is identified via the GOP primary process, at which point, if that person seems to offer hope (assuming things in America don't get better, which is a safe assumption), Obama's numbers are likely to go down. (If the alternative seems like a barking loon -- Bachmann, maybe Perry -- Obama may be home free.)

I'm also skeptical about some of Gallup's numbers. Obama's up 48%-44% in Georgia? Really? Hell, this poll has him at 45%-47% in Mississippi. Either there's a massive, long-term disconnect between public opinion and voting patterns in these states ... or Gallup's state samples are too small and/or skewed to be reliable.

So maybe this is remarkably good news for the president. Or maybe it's not.

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