Americans aren’t making the non-existent connection

AMERICANS AREN’T MAKING THE NON-EXISTENT CONNECTION…. Most of the recent national polls have shown Barack Obama with an almost surprising amount of support, even among Americans who didn’t vote for him. It’s all subject to change, of course, and Obama hasn’t had to actually govern, but he’s poised to enter the White House with considerable goodwill and very high approval ratings.

But wait, Obama detractors remind us, these polls were taken before Rod Blagojevich got arrested. Obama isn’t connected to the scandal, hasn’t done anything wrong, and hasn’t been implicated in this mess in any way, but most news outlets have been working overtime to make the connection anyway, using baseless speculation and circular analysis. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer announced late last week that “some are calling this Obama’s first presidential scandal.” He didn’t identify the “some,” and didn’t explain why those people are completely wrong.

The next question, then, is whether, and to what extent, the media’s drumbeat will undermine the president-elect’s support. So far, Americans are seeing through the charade.

Public ratings of Barack Obama are unscathed by the scandal swirling around Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich’s apparent effort to trade off his power to appoint Obama’s successor to the U.S. Senate, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

More than three-quarters of Americans approve of the way Obama is handling the presidential transition, up significantly from three weeks ago, and a slim majority in the new poll said the president-elect has already done enough to explain any connections his staff may have had with Blagojevich.

If Obama has nothing to do with the Blagojevich controversy, and last week’s innuendo hasn’t changed public perceptions, maybe political reporters can cut the nonsense?

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.