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Obama polls: half full or half empty

Anti-Obama sites say that the country hates Obama and is sorry they elected him. They say that his approval rating is falling sharply. Birther Report cites a story from the Washington Examiner, and inserted one of its trademark bogus headlines:

Poll: 71% of Obama voters, 55% Democrats ‘regret’ voting for his re-election

Because of some errors in the original reporting of that story, Birther Report may not have intentionally misrepresented the data, but it’s misrepresented all the same. Actually 71% of the 10% who said they wouldn’t vote for Obama if they had it to do over said they regretted their vote, and that looks like 7.1%, not 71%. Romney voters are more confident about their 2012 choice, but then Romney hasn’t been president for them to judge.

Even with good data, the result can be spun half full/half empty. The Examiner story was titled: “Poll: Only 79% of Obama voters would vote for him again,” but an equally true headline would be: “Poll: Only 10% of Obama voters would change their votes now.” The difference is in where you put the 11% undecided.

The research was done by YouGov.com (a group I volunteer for), and it’s presented in the context of how well Romney might do in a 2016 run for President. Their conclusion is that Romney is no more popular than he was just before the election.

Believe it or not, there are still birther polls. YouGov surveyed 1000 US  adults between February 8-10. Given only the two choices, 62% say they believe it’s true that Obama was born in the US (and 38% say it’s false). Interestingly, 25% responded that people who say Obama was born outside the US don’t really believe it and are saying it just because they don’t like Obama. The hard core birthers, the ones that are sure Obama was not born in the US, were 15% of the sample. 6% said Obama’s Presidential Library should located be in Kenya.

What might be considered a striking success for birthers, though, is that a whopping 70% say that presidential candidates should be required to show their birth certificates to get on the ballot! Obama was way ahead of the curve on that one, releasing his in mid 2008.

As to Obama’s approval rating, a Washington PostABC poll before the State of the Union showed the President with a 44% approval rating (50% disapproval). That’s up 2 points since November.

FactCheck scrubs images?

A couple of emails arrived recently dealing with FactCheck.org photos of Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

The original FactCheck article with photos appeared August of 2008, a couple of months after the Obama campaign released a scanned image to a few news organizations. The scan didn’t clearly show the raised seal, had the certificate number blacked out, and didn’t show the back of the form, leading critics to claim that a paper Certification of Live Birth (COLB) didn’t physically exist. FactCheck sent a couple of staffers over to the Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago to take pictures.

As with every new piece of evidence that should reasonably raise confidence in Barack Obama’s origins, birthers just come up with more imagined ways it could be false, and the anti-Obama propagandists figure out how to smear folks they don’t like, in this case FactCheck. The big lie about FactCheck is that Barack Obama used to be on the board of FactCheck (or some variant of that story). Continue Reading →