After reading Jonathan Bernstein’s essay on the massive over-reaction to the president’s sag in approval ratings–some of it based, no doubt, on media cherry-picking of whichever polls had the lowest numbers–I went back and looked at Gallup’s weekly approval rating averages over the last few weeks.
The CW is that Obama and the Democrats were riding high–on the brink, perhaps, of a history-defying 2014 sweep of Congress–when the government shutdown ended. That week Gallup had Obama’s approval ratio at a 43/51 average. Now the CW is that Obama is sinking into second-term Bush-like oblivion, with Democrats abandoning him and Republicans roaring towards a conquest of the Senate. The latest Gallup weekly average of Obama’s approval ratio is at 41/52, a booming one-and-a-half point deterioration since the shutdown ended.
Looking at the two junctures in terms of internals, Obama’s approval rating among liberal Democrats has gone from 84% to 85% among Liberal Democrats, from 75% to 74% among Moderate Democrats, and from 69% to 62% among Conservative Democrats. His ratings are the same as before among Pure Independents, and actually up four points among Moderate/Liberal Republicans.
What does it all mean? Probably that most people aren’t breathlessly following events in Washington other than to register their heat and noise. And there’s not much indication just yet that America sees itself as represented by the worried holders of existing individual health insurance policies. So yeah, once again, everyone should chill.