One in four have bought the nonsense

ONE IN FOUR HAVE BOUGHT THE NONSENSE…. Yesterday, a Rasmussen poll found that 45% of Americans believe it’s “likely” that Barack Obama or one of his top aides was “involved” in the Blagojevich scandal. Since the wording of the question was awkward, the results didn’t tell us much.

After a week of bizarre reporting, and a bizarre effort on the part of many outlets and media personalities to draw a connection that doesn’t exist, the real question is how many Americans believe the president-elect and/or his team did something wrong/inappropriate. Today, Gallup released a more useful report.

About one out of four Americans, including half of Republicans, believe that members of President-elect Barack Obama’s staff engaged in illegal activities relating to the charges that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was trying to profit from naming Obama’s replacement in the U.S. Senate. Still, Gallup’s latest daily report of the public’s confidence in Obama’s ability to be a good president is at 68%, near the highest level since he was elected on Nov. 4.

These results are based on the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted Dec. 12-14, which asked a random half-sample whether Obama’s staff members did anything illegal in connection with this matter, and the other half whether Obama’s staff members did anything unethical. The results show that about the same percentage of Americans interviewed say members of Obama’s staff did something unethical as say they did something illegal.

Gallup’s report noted that the responses were “highly partisan.” That’s clearly true — Greg Sargent noted, “[T]he partisan breakdowns show that those totals are heavily fueled by Republicans saying Obama’s team did something wrong, while large numbers of Dems and independents don’t agree. And even the number of Republicans who’ve reached those conclusions isn’t especially high: Less than half think someone did something illegal, while 54% think someone did something unethical.”

The drive to connect Obama and his team, without evidence, to the Blagojevich mess isn’t working, which is as it should be.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation