Josh Marshall does a funny, showing how to be play with numbers:

But, this pretend 'look ma, all is well' game has to deal with the reality (or at least the trend) at some point (so the theories of stages goes anyway):

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Down to the ground. Down, down, down

This a pretty good description of Obama's Presidency and the Democratic party under his Presidency. 

by Kent 2010-09-09 08:00PM | 0 recs
So much for the reality-based community

It looks like the TPM page is now gone. However, I saw the same graph earlier today when Markos linked to it over at DK:

• Yeah, Obama's popularity isn't exactly plummeting.

If TPM and DK are going to play games with poll data to pretend things aren't as bad as they really are, at this point it's hard to trust anything that their writers write. They've become on-line spin rooms for the Democratic Party.

by tsunado 2010-09-09 11:19PM | 1 recs
RE: So much for the reality-based community

... well, at least he came to his senses and deleted it-- embarrassing.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-09-09 11:36PM | 0 recs
Isnt there some sort of blogger code of ethics ?

That says you should not summarily delete posts, even if they are embarrassing ?

by Ravi Verma 2010-09-10 12:46AM | 0 recs

I don't know what the circumstances are, perhaps its a technical flaw that caused the deletion. Its rather strange.

However, there is definitely not such a ethic for traditional media outlets as they are often deleting their uninformed new pieces.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-09-10 08:17AM | 0 recs
It's the latest from the 2+2=5 crowd

Gallup pegged Obama's approval rating on 1/21/2009 at 69%. The most recent Gallup/USA Today approval rating for the incredible shrinking President is at 43%. Maybe we should get a pool going on what day this year he goes into the 30's.

Eventually, these clowns will have to come up with a narrative for the near 30-point drop in Obama's popularity. I expect it will go something like this: you see, a huge number of voters in that 69% turned into racists during the last two years, and the ugly feelings they now harbor toward the President is the reason for the precipitous drop in his approval ratings.

The only other explanation they'll try to pedal is that it was caused by George W. Bush.


by BJJ Fighter 2010-09-10 12:23AM | 1 recs
RE: It's the latest from the 2+2=5 crowd

ehh, using Obama's approval numbers at the time he was sworn in seems a little silly to me.

Surely there's a pretty large non-sustainable bump right at the beginning.

by jeopardy 2010-09-10 10:54AM | 1 recs
RE: It's the latest from the 2+2=5 crowd

Grant it, it's an arbitrary marker; but every President in recent history has received an initial approval rating by Gallup and other pollsters. It makes for an easy, apples-to-apples comparison between Obama and other Presidents.


by BJJ Fighter 2010-09-10 01:47PM | 0 recs
RE: It's the latest from the 2+2=5 crowd

Well as long as your comparing apples to apples Obama's approval ratings are above where both Clinton and Reagan were at this point. Indeed he's right about the post 60's historical average which is pretty good considering we just experienced the greatest recession since ww2. Heaven forbid what will happen should the unemployment recover!

Thus explaining the conservative game plan. Hurt the Country to hurt the President. Very classy guys.

by vecky 2010-09-10 02:13PM | 1 recs
RE: It's the latest from the 2+2=5 crowd

Its not really the same. Sure, the typical response, like vecky's there, is shallow in thinking that all of them are apples. A look deeper though shows that one of these is not like the other. Obama's polarizing, the Mr Uniter himself, is absolutely historical.

Unless you believe in ponies and unicorns, to think that Obama is getting numbers back up among Republicans, the only way he even gets to 50% approval is if he's able to swing the independents by a substantial positive margin. its more likely that his numbers continue to sink.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-09-11 12:22AM | 0 recs
Oh, this is flipping ridiculous

What exactly are we all carrying on about?  Obama's numbers are entirely unsurprising for a modern president in a recession.  In itself, that says nothing about the things he's done right, the greater number of his mistakes, or the fact that this is typical of all presidents.  It says nothing about the factors of this year's midterm drubbing... except the tautology that there's a recession and the President isn't all that popular.

So Obama's a typical president: very disappointing to people who thought he was anything besides less dangerous than McCain.  But this kind of cheering for his failure is as much a turn-off as the babbling of those still stuck in the clap-louder bubble.

by bruorton 2010-09-10 08:58AM | 1 recs
it's all in context
I think its fair to say that Obama's numbers "plummeted" over the course of 2009 (which is not surprising given many's lofty expectations), but its not fair to say that his numbers are currently "plummeting," given they have stayed consistently around 50% throughout this entire calendar year. I think that is the point that DK and TPM are trying to make.
by lalawguy 2010-09-10 01:17PM | 2 recs
The only valid point is the trend. His numbers going down. With the only other point being that his approval below 50 percent (at 45%), it means he's at a usually unelectable number for an incumbent.
Its sorta like, at this point, taking a guess after a stock has lost a lot of value, of weather its bottomed out and time to buy; but if you look at the trend, you are really just gambling against the odds.
by Jerome Armstrong 2010-09-11 12:31AM | 0 recs
RE: nah

Ummm, that's how it works... trend lines are usually down till they start going up again! For example look at GW Bush from mid-2003 to last Q-2004... 

by vecky 2010-09-11 02:55PM | 1 recs
I like your analogy

Don't know if you've read any of Stan Weinstien's stuff, but using his system, Obama is a Stage 4 stock, i.e., a broken stock. These stocks often start out as explosive growth companies, climb extremely rapidly (e.g., RIM), become an extremely crowded trade as everyone in the market just falls in love with them, and then start to fall when traders' lofty expectations aren't met. Once the downward spiral crosses critical levels (in politics, that might be, say, a 40% approval rating ), they are done, and they never head back up, barring an extraordinary event, like a takeover bid.

Can't see what Obama's extraordinary event is going to be, but he'd better start praying.


by BJJ Fighter 2010-09-11 05:26PM | 0 recs
OK How many of you want honesty?

Obama's problem is that he was never a candidate with his own political machine prior to this election.  And he was not experienced.

Yes I know all the kids voted for him.  Yes I know tons of first time voters voted for him.  Yes newly politically active people worked for him etc.  And there was an established political machine that allied itself with him.  But it wasn't the Obama network it was the Kennedy and dailykos networks.

Young voters and first time voters are not reliable.  They tend to pretend that their spoon fed senator was already a world leader when he didn't even control his own success in Chicago.  


The power base that is dailykos represents a fundamentally unstable demographic.  They will buy into Obama 2.0 whomever that is and s/he will turn out to be Carter 3.0 just like Obama is Carter 2.0

Unless the dailykos/axlerod/Pelosi faction can be reduced to the size of influence that actually represent their numbers we will go from failure to failure.  And by numbers I don't mean the people who will vote for an empty suit in 2008 I mean the support who will vote for the fallout of the empty suit in 2010 and 2012.

Dailykos doesn't deliver that kind of support.  First time voters don't deliver that kind of support.   

When Obama is older and wiser he may yet wish he took a term as Hillary's VP to actually learn some politics before getting the top job.  It would have probably given him the kind of Lincoln like legacy history was wanting to give him and is now likely lost forever.



by donkeykong 2010-09-12 03:18PM | 0 recs

I agree that Obama would have approached the Presidency differently had he more political experience -- but what kind of experience it was might have resulted in him doing better, or worse, than he has.  It's hard to know.  For one, I think his loss to Bobby Rush made him a much more cynical politician, and I do wonder if he might have aimed higher if he hadn't been informed by that.

All that aside, judging him against Lincoln less than halfway through one term is beyond premature.  Lincoln as president radically disappointed his base (and the left) on many occasions, such as by supporting a Constitutional amendment to preserve slavery, or a suspension of habeas corpus; he was also regarded at points to have crucially underestimated his opposition, leading to irreversible losses.  In 1864, he was thought by many to have lost the war beyond any hope of reversal, and he even acknowledged in writing that he was unlikely to win re-election.

But that's not how we remember him, is it?  The future is always more surprising than our most confident predictions.  So I'll keep hoping the President will make better choices, and be more of an ally, while I do what I can to keep progressive causes marching onward.

by bruorton 2010-09-13 09:11AM | 0 recs
RE: Lincoln

From everything I've read about Obama, Lincoln is really the only President he has read alot about. he may talk about FDR & Kennedy, but really, he seems like he has three influences: reading about Lincoln, watching Bush, watching Clinton. He also seems to have a bit of Reagan-envy.

So, what does Obama see in himself that he think parallels Lincoln and the conflict he was amidst? Is that Afghanistan, because if so, he's delusional.  If it the post-partisan  blah, because if so, he's an egomaniac of the 12th degree. More than anything, he looks like Cleveland's second term at this point.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-09-13 11:30AM | 0 recs
RE: Lincoln

Well, if Obama is actively trying to imitate another President, or imagines exact parallels between present challenges and those of another time and context, he's a fool.  I hope he's not so shallow a thinker as to do that, because as you say it would be nuts one way or another.  What we're supposed to learn from history is how not to re-enact it, right?

Whatever is in his mind/ego on this, the parlor game of comparing him to others seems to be amazingly popular among just about everyone else.  (Not sure why; was it not as much fun to do this for Bush, or did I just not notice it?)  I've come to think of it as a political Rorschach test, or else just a way to make an indirect but serious(TM)-sounding statement about him.

But mostly, I think it's a waste of time for us to be pretending that we can classify his legacy at this point.  We've got him here for at least two more years -- and we should still be in the business of getting him to do the right thing wherever possible, and doing the best we can without him elsewhere.

by bruorton 2010-09-13 03:38PM | 0 recs
RE: Lincoln

I am a smart guy.  Almost all my dedication to Clinton is based on he is also a smart guy.  It isn't about policy, it isn't about honesty, its about openness and brainpower.  Its about who gets appointed head of FEMA when a smart guy is president vs who gets appointed when a not so smart guy is president.  After all the president doesn't run the country, the president runs the people who run the country or rather the people who run the people who run the people who run the country.  If that president isn't the smartest person in the room then he doesn't appoint the 2nd smartest to run the 3rd smartest who then runs the 4th smartest etc.  Thats the real reason Bush jr ruined the country.


If Bush was president and told Bill Clinton what was to happen and Bill Clinton's team took every order and actually did them we wouldn't have had nearly the shit storm we had because Clinton's team was smart.

Clinton tells the truth as he needs the truth to be but without crossing a line, if you are intelligent you know what he means.  He can say no and all the smart people know he means no but six months from now it will be yes.  I don't mean you know he is a liar and you can attach any meaning to his words, I mean he is communicating in such a way that the thinking man of either party knows what he is actually going to do.  They know that at 49% senate approval he votes this way but if it was 55% senate approval he would vote another way.

This is very important because real world problems have many uncontrolled variables.  People who have no experience doing much of anything will tell you they are smart enough to hold all those variables in their head and don't need to be communicating their intentions.  But thats Carteresque thinking.  The real players are honest/open because lying takes too much effort to decode.  Clinton may say something that doesn't turn out to be true but he is always doing it in the context of actually telling you openly where he stands.  This allowed him to be very respected in the business community where they need to plan long term and need to understand what may happen and what may not happen.  Think of it as advanced leadership, I don't know who is going to be elected in this country but my response will be X if its this guy and Y if it isn't now go run your models so you can find a strategy that is stable for either case.


Obama isn't in that league of being able to communicate to smart people what he is actually going to do (largely because he doesn't know) while at the same time communicating with dumb people what he needs to say to avoid them having a hissy fit.  He didn't fundamentally understand that he built an unstable alliance and was politically weak.  Instead he acted like he had the political power that clinton had at the end of 8 years.  So he lost his power much faster than he could have.

Fair enough you say for an instant he did have that kind of power.  But it was ideological power.  All those people wanted him to change something specific.  They voted for Obama for him to do something specific that they wanted.  They were voting for themselves not for him.  

They voted for Clinton because he knew what the hell he was doing and they trusted him to actually do it.  They knew that on many issues he would not do what they wanted but they understood that in the long run they would be happy because he was pretty smart and not at all about to totally screw them.

As someone intelligent who can read between Clintons lines and realized very early that Obama was not communicating on the intelligencia bandwidth I saw this coming in the primary. 


There will be no Obama redemption.  There is a whole class of people who actually know he doesn't belong in their number.  He has no cross over to the indy or conservative intelligencia.


There will be no Obama redemption because he doesn't own much political power.  He can only break the color barrier once.  People have now seen him in action/inaction and claiming that he is a higher class of politician won't work.  Lincoln is big because he took America away from slavery and the nature of America had to radically change from a country that though slavery was ok to one that thinks is horrible for Lincoln to be a hero.


What issue is going to change America so much over time to bring Obama back?  

by donkeykong 2010-09-15 02:27PM | 0 recs
RE: Lincoln

Fair enough you say for an instant he did have that kind of power.

Near the top of the list of things I hate is people putting words in my mouth.  I never said anything about the President's "power," or it's loss.

Somewhere farther down that list is people ranting off topic.  I'm sorry Obama doesn't communicate on your smart-guy "bandwidth" and that your "class of people" know he doesn't belong in their club.  But I really can't relate.

My point here was that Lincoln is remembered because in the end his accomplishments outweighed his failings, despite the fact that at times he floundered in his position and even actively resisted the things for which he is now remembered.  He learned and adapted to a changing world.

My point was that we do not know what is yet to come, how Obama will learn from experience, and least of all how he will be remembered.

by bruorton 2010-09-16 09:03AM | 0 recs
No Pushback

Thanks for pointing this obvious fact out, as I have been saying for a long time that he is simply lingering in the mid 40s, not bad for a not great economy, slow to get better, and a bitter onslaught from Fox, AM Radio, and the Teabaggers.

We need to get the facts out and we need to gut the teabaggers (in a political way, not like an actual fish).

by RichardFlatts 2010-09-15 02:38PM | 0 recs
No Pushback

Thanks for pointing this obvious fact out, as I have been saying for a long time that he is simply lingering in the mid 40s, not bad for a not great economy, slow to get better, and a bitter onslaught from Fox, AM Radio, and the Teabaggers.

We need to get the facts out and we need to gut the teabaggers (in a political way, not like an actual fish).

by RichardFlatts 2010-09-15 02:38PM | 0 recs
Every virtue is a median between two extremes

Jerome's graph is wrong.  Jerome laid out an Obama presidential approval graph that started in December of 2008, but Obama wasn't a sitting president in December of 2008.

The first graph is basically correct. The guy lopped off a few months at the start of the guy's presidency, that's fair - he was settling in. And of course, he excluded the months that the guy was NOT president.


Unlike Jerome "Mr. Baseball" Armstrong here..

by Trey Rentz 2010-09-16 02:14PM | 0 recs
RE: Every virtue is a median between two extremes

Its not my graph, its TPM. Besides, your point makes no sense. His approval was lower in Dec than it was when he started in office.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-09-16 03:02PM | 0 recs


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