Friday, December 26, 2008

The Only Poll That Matters Is ...

I still don't know what to make of Barack Obama's absurdly high approval ratings. 82% is a full fifteen points higher than the marks Dubya or Bill Clinton received. The number barely makes sense; we're approaching something close to Bush-after-9/11 figures, and while the economy is in a downturn, there's no way it's in enough of a downturn that one third of all Republicans would (after all, Bill Clinton took office in an economic crisis). So, say half of those fifteen percent who didn't approve of Clinton approve of Obama due to the rougher economic times and the lack of a third party candidate. That still leaves a needed explanation for seven or eight percent of the public, and while I think Obama is benefiting from the fact that the country is eager to hear a President who can string together consecutive related sentences, I have a hard time avoiding the idea that there's some Bradley/Wilder effect going on here. We know that at this point, Americans don't lie that much about black candidates when it comes to horserace polling, but we don't have much data when it comes to approval polling.
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