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Mark Halperin, Chris Matthews and Anderson Cooper Skew Obama Ratings

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It all started with Mark Halperin's brief note in Time Magazine, , which stated "Poll: Obama Approval Rating Drops". It goes on to say that Obama's job approval level is 64%, "down from a pre-Inauguration high of 83%".

Chris Matthews on MSNBC and Anderson Cooper on CNN jumped on this information and promptly repeated it on each of their shows on Friday. What’s the problem? It combines information from two different polls that ask different questions and reaches an unsupported and erroneous conclusion.

The first poll deals with Obama's transition. Gallup asked people "Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his presidential transition?" the final metric for this was that 83% of the country approved of then President-elect Obama's transition efforts.

Obama's Transition Ratings

When President-elect Obama became President Obama, Gallup and other polling organizations started tracking his job approval ratings. His first rating came in at 68% for the period of January 21-23rd.

Barack Obama's Job Performance Rating from Gallup

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At the risk of stating the obvious, the question “How do you think President Barack Obama is doing his job?” is not the same question as "How is President-Elect Barack Obama handling his transition?"

The error gets even worse, because Halperin's suggestion of a drop from 83% to 64% doesn't even rely on unrelated polls from the same polling agency. For the 64% figure, he went to USA Today whose January 30-Feb 1 poll shows Obama with a 64% job approval rating.

Mark Halperin and Time Magazine deserve the bulk of the criticism for coming up with and then printing this twisted analysis. Matthews & MSNBC and Cooper & CNN also deserve criticism for not bothering to vet Halperin's data and throwing it out there, in what I can only assume to be a rush in order not to be scooped by other networks.

A 19% drop in approval would be big news if it were true. Presenting this erroneous data as fact and drawing the conclusion that Obama’s approval is falling is irresponsible at best. A conspiracy theorist could easily conclude that these three media personalities and their networks/agencies were deliberately trying to create negative momentum for Obama and his new administration. At the least, this deserves a prominent retraction on air/print and an accompanying apology to viewers and to President Obama.

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A political blogger for the International Business Times, Steve Leser is a hot national political pundit. He has appeared on MSNBC's Coundown with Keith Olbermann, Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Russia Today's (RT) Crosstalk with (more...)

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Bottomline is that the Corporate media is attempti... by FrenchieCat on Wednesday, Feb 4, 2009 at 12:41:19 AM
Corporate tax CUTS, etc........ by FrenchieCat on Wednesday, Feb 4, 2009 at 12:43:16 AM
For those of you who do not know, Frenchiecat prov... by Steven Leser on Wednesday, Feb 4, 2009 at 12:51:01 AM
The talking heads are worried about employment lik... by virginius "gin" arnold on Wednesday, Feb 4, 2009 at 11:20:40 AM
when he wasn't even on the job yet?I don't... by Maxwell on Wednesday, Feb 4, 2009 at 12:37:32 PM
What did you expect Steven? Seriously!Neither Chri... by Munich on Wednesday, Feb 4, 2009 at 12:51:03 PM
Schuster has repeated the 17 point drop lie severa... by FrenchieCat on Wednesday, Feb 4, 2009 at 1:38:47 PM
All the ratings were skewed even prior to the elec... by Gallaher on Wednesday, Feb 4, 2009 at 3:32:27 PM
No wonder people are deserting the media in droves... by Perry Logan on Wednesday, Feb 4, 2009 at 4:26:57 PM
They never let truth stand in the way of a story b... by mike bocchi on Wednesday, Feb 4, 2009 at 6:42:40 PM
Maybe the three merry media shills are not rushing... by Guitar Chris on Wednesday, Feb 4, 2009 at 8:39:43 PM
Reminds me of the poll manipulation the 9/11 ... by Alan Williams on Wednesday, Feb 4, 2009 at 8:44:59 PM
You have got 9-11 in your head like a tapeloop. Gi... by William Whitten on Thursday, Feb 5, 2009 at 8:28:52 AM
That's YOU saying THAT?  Too funny ... by Alan Williams on Thursday, Feb 5, 2009 at 7:48:41 PM
It reminds me that ratings right here on OEN have ... by William Whitten on Thursday, Feb 5, 2009 at 8:25:54 AM
While it's certainly true what Steven says about p... by Alan Williams on Thursday, Feb 5, 2009 at 8:19:07 PM