Misconceptions of presidential disapproval
Allahpundit jumps on the Obama-approval-ratings-are-dropping bandwagon and, like most conservatives who try to interpret the data, totally misses the point:
More than 60 percent of indies disapprove of his handling of health care and the economy. Meanwhile, the overall 44/51 split is the widest gap yet on ObamaCare and the first time it’s been statistically significant in the WaPo poll [….]
Sixty-three percent support the recently deceased Medicare buy-in. Then again, majorities also consistently say they support the public option even though most of them don’t understand it, so it’s anyone’s guess what that “support” means in practice. Remember: It’s amazing what a follow-up question about trade-offs can do to the numbers when polling on ObamaCare. Which probably explains why one wasn’t asked here.
Somehow this leads Allahpundit to imply that disapproval of Obama’s job performance among independents has led more people to lean Republican, closing the partisan gap. That doesn’t seem very likely to me. I think a huge portion of independents who disapprove of Obama’s performance are actually hoping for more progressive reforms and are disappointed with how conservative the healthcare bill has become. These folks might stay home in November, but they won’t come out to vote Republican.
What we’re seeing here is more wishful thinking on the right, interpreting every sign of disappointment with Obama as an indication of the right’s success. That is simply wrong-headed. If 63% of independents support the Medicare buy-in and majorities support a public option, then I’d say it’s fairly unlikely that most indies will come out and vote for the GOP in 2010 or 2012.
Remember, people are naturally inclined to vote for the lesser of two evils, and the Republicans are moving more to the right, not more to the center where a good chunk of independents reside. Even those indies who “lean right” might be scared away by the prospect of a Sarah Palin nomination.