Saturday, May 2, 2009

FOX News: In Russia, old joke remembers you!

From childhood, I remember a joke about a foot race between a Russian and an American. The punchline: The American won, but the Russians announced that the Russian came in second while the American came in next-to-last.

I was reminded of that joke by this joke from FOX News:

Study: Obama's Early Popularity Only Average Among Predecessors

President Obama is just average.

At least by the standard of approval ratings.

Though Obama's job approval score is strong and has been since he took office, historical polling data shows Obama's popularity during his first 100 days is right in the middle of the scores other new presidents received from the public over the past 60 years.

Obama's 63 percent average, according to a study released by Gallup last month, is the highest for a new president since Jimmy Carter (he clocked in at 69 percent during his first 100 days).

But John F. Kennedy bested Obama by more than 10 points, with 74 percent. Dwight Eisenhower enjoyed a 71 percent rating early on.

Even Richard Nixon averaged a 62 percent approval rating, just 1 point shy of Obama's.

Overall, Obama's average for the first three months matched the historical average of 63 percent for presidents since Eisenhower.

When you include presidents who took the oath mid-term -- after the death or resignation of a president -- Obama's 63 percent looks paltry.

Harry Truman enjoyed 87 percent approval, while Lyndon Johnson enjoyed 76 percent.

Obama might have benefited, too, from the unpopularity of his predecessor.

Even after the contested 2000 election, though, George W. Bush averaged 58 percent in his first 100 days, according to the study.

Ronald Reagan averaged 60 percent, George H.W. Bush averaged 57 percent and Bill Clinton averaged 55 percent.

So let's see: The post-WWII presidents whose approval numbers after their first 100 days in office (still a a silly yardstick) exceeded Obama's 63% were Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Carter.

Notice anything about that list?

Me too.

Let's try rephrasing those same Gallup results like this:

If the post-World War II presidents were ranked by their approval ratings after their first 100 days in office, every Republican president (with one exception) would be ranked lower than even the lowest-ranked Democratic president.

Nixon, Ford (presumably, although FOX News doesn't even deign to mention him), Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush were all rated lower than Obama at this early point in their presidencies.

That one exception was Dwight Eisenhower, a popular war hero and two-term Republican president from a now-extinct branch of the GOP, who left office almost 50 years ago. Eisenhower's approvals after his first 100 days were higher than Obama's--and he wouldn't have even a snowball's chance in hell with his own party if he returned from the grave to enter the 2012 GOP primaries.

Or, to put it still another way:

Barack Obama has the lowest approval ratings in his first 100 days of any post-war president (as long as we don't count all those Republican presidents who were less popular than him).

Kind of sad, really.


The Chinuk said...

It just goes to show you ... they who live by the statistic will be made fools of by the statistic.

Stalin would have lurved FOX News.

Or, as I like to say "FOX News ... just a vowel movement away from the truth."

torridjoe said...

Yakoff Smirnoff! What do I win?

Nothstine said...

So true.

Also, may I just say that lurve is a verb that doesn't get enough air play. I salute you.


Nothstine said...


Ding, ding, ding! You win a case of Yakov Smirnoff Vodka--you don't drink it--it drinks you!bn