Citing no evidence, NY Times reported Bush's poll numbers "beginning to inch up"

››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg wrote -- without citing evidence -- that "[t]he president's poll numbers, which plummeted last year, are beginning to inch up." In fact, a review of eight major polls released in the week preceding Stolberg's report revealed that polls showing President Bush's approval rating either declining or remaining steady outnumbered polls showing an increase.

In a January 29 New York Times article, reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg wrote -- without citing evidence -- that "[t]he president's poll numbers, which plummeted last year, are beginning to inch up." Later in the article, Stolberg again reported that Bush's poll numbers "are rising but still comparatively low." In fact, a review of eight major polls released in the week preceding Stolberg's report revealed that polls showing President Bush's approval rating either declining or remaining steady outnumbered polls showing an increase.

The results of those polls:

  • An ABC News/Washington Post poll, conducted January 23-26, found Bush's approval rating to be 42 percent. That figure is down four percent from the previous ABC/Post poll, conducted January 5-8.
  • A Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll, conducted January 24-25, placed Bush's approval rating at 41 percent. That figure is down one percent from the previous Fox/Opinion Dynamics poll, conducted January 10-11.
  • A CBS News/New York Times poll, conducted January 20-25, found Bush's approval rating to be 42 percent. That figure is up one percent from the previous CBS poll, conducted January 5-8.
  • A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted January 20-22, placed Bush's approval rating at 43 percent. That figure is the same as Bush's approval rating in the previous CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted January 9-12.
  • Rasmussen Reports' daily tracking polls show Bush's approval rating to have ranged from 48 to 50 percent since January 28, after ranging from 44 to 46 percent for most of January.
  • Three other major polls, which also suggest conflicting trends in Bush's approval ratings, do not have recent prior results for comparison. A Time magazine poll conducted January 24-26 put Bush's approval rating at 41 percent, which is equal to the last Time poll, conducted November 29-December 1. A Cook Political Report/RT Strategies poll conducted January 22-25 found Bush's approval rating to be 47 percent, up five percent from the previous Cook/RT Strategies poll conducted December 8-11. A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll conducted January 22-25 put Bush's approval rating at 43 percent, noting that the figure was "a big drop" from older polling by the Los Angeles Times, and that "most national polls have shown Bush's popularity declining dramatically":

    A majority of Americans (54%) disapprove of the way the president is handling his job, while 43% approve. This includes 39% who strongly disapprove. This is a big drop from the beginning of last year, when a January L.A. Times Poll had Bush's job rating at 50% approve (47% disapprove). Throughout much of 2005, most national polls have shown Bush's popularity declining dramatically. The poll results are very close to the average of other national polls released in the last two weeks.

  • The only major poll released since Stolberg's January 29 article indicates a lower approval rating for Bush than any of the polls released earlier in the week. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted January 26-29 placed Bush's approval rating at 39 percent, equal to the previous NBC/Journal poll conducted December 9-12.

The margin of error in all of the above polls is approximately 3 percentage points.

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