As we enter October, now is the time to begin to pay close attention to election polls. As the November election date approaches, more and more people will turn their attention to them and the polls will begin to more accurately reflect the probable outcome.
But there are other polls out there that are interesting as well. They give indicators, moods and trends which, when combined with election polls help better explain why one candidate is surging and the other faltering.
Two of those catch my notice today. The first is the POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Poll. While it may mean absolutely nothing in 2012, the most important year for Obama, it does provide a snap-shot of the mood of the electorate. In it pollsters found:
- Only 38% say Obama deserves re-election and 44% will vote to oust him out
- Voters trust congressional Republicans to create jobs more than Obama by an 11-point margin
- Republicans hold a 4-point edge in generic ballot
The significance is the difference in his job approval rating (42% – an all time low) and his "deserves reelection" rating. The latter is the most significant, and it says he’s a one term president – for now. Remember, in politics, it is all about the confidence one has in the leadership. This poll could be considered a lack of confidence vote as it concerns Obama right now.
The fact that voters ‘trust’ Republicans to create more jobs than Democrats by 11 points isn’t so much an endorsement of Republican economic policies, but a rejection of Democratic ones. They’re deemed to have failed (and that failure, I would claim, is directly connected with Obama’s reelection number).
You have to wonder if Republicans are able to do a marginally better job on the job front (or the economy begins to rebound naturally and they get some credit) whether it will also pick up Obama’s reelection numbers.
The last number – 4% on the positive side for the GOP on the generic ballot – simply reflects the facts the other two numbers do. Voters are deeply dissatisfied with Democrats. That doesn’t mean they’re wild about the GOP though.
Some other news from the poll concerns the media preferences of the electorate:
- 81% of those polled get midterm election news from cable news channels
- 42% say Fox News is their main source – more than CNN (30%) and MSNBC (12%) combined
- Bill O’Reilly seen to have greatest "positive impact" of opinionated media personalities with 49%, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are second and third
- MSNBC personalities largely unknown – 70% have never heard of Ed Schultz, 55% haven’t heard of Rachel Maddow
Now this is interesting stuff for many reasons. One is it provides proof that the left’s attempted demonization of Fox News has not worked at all. I wonder how that’s going to sit with the White House. In fact, it seems to have been a dismal failure. What the left would characterize as “right biased media” apparently rules.
Secondly, I find it hilarious that the “stars” of the left are unknown to the majority of those polled. And remember, the 30% who say they have heard of Ed Schultz (I’d be one of those) don’t necessarily listen to him (I’d also be one of those). John Stewart, however, did quite well on the “positive impact” side of things.
Last – is Limbaugh’s star being eclipsed by O’Reilly and Beck? I realize that O’Reilly, for some reason, has held the top spot on cable opinion shows for some time, and Beck does both radio and cable while Limbaugh only does radio, but that’s interesting info if correct. However, regardless as to the ranking of those three, they apparently convincingly own the “positive impact” category of “opinionated media”. Wonder what Hannity thinks about all this (and not being really in the running?)?
And as an aside, despite their declining circulation numbers, newspapers remain the most important news source for likely voters:
Despite steady declines in circulation over the past decade, newspapers are more influential than national news broadcasts when it comes to news on the upcoming election, with 72 percent of respondents saying they turn to newspapers or their websites.
Local news did better, at 73 percent, and conversations with friends and family was the second-most-cited source, at 79 percent. Radio was cited by only 58 percent of respondents, and non-newspaper websites and blogs by 39 percent.
Anyway, all of this makes sense when you view the results of the other poll. And, given the majorities who’ve never heard of the liberal show hosts, I’m not sure it would be any different if it was the Republicans in control and failing as dismally as the Democrats are. When that was the case, those folks were on the air and apparently few were tuning in to hear what they had to say.
Why? Because for the most part, Limbaugh, Beck and O’Reilly talk about getting government out of our hair, making it smaller and less costly. That resonates. That reflects the mood of the country. It is also something you’re not going to hear from the Ed Shultz’s and Rachel Maddow’s of the world.
There’s a free clue (and one that should be obvious by now) to any politician or political party that wants it.