Why is Gallup hyping negligible movement in Obama's approval rating?

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

This seems rather absurd, considering Gallup's own margin of error for its Obama poll is plus or minus 4 points. Meaning, a job approval rating drop of one or two points that Gallup is hyping is statistically irrelevant.

But that didn't stop Gallup from touting its latest results with this Drudge-friendly headline:

Obama's Approval Ratings Lowest Yet, Congress' Declines

And its lede:

President Barack Obama's job approval is the worst of his presidency to date, with 46% of Americans approving and 48% disapproving of the job he is doing as president in the latest Gallup Daily three-day average.

So Obama's three-day rolling average is 46 percent, the worst of his presidency. It all sounds very ominous and newsy, right? But what was Obama's previous low at Gallup? Um, 47 percent back in January.

Gallup wrote up a news report about Obama achieving the "worst" job approval ratings of his presidency based on the fact it's exactly one point lower than his previous mark, and even though, according to Gallup, the margin of error on the poll is four percent?

So statistically, I think I'm safe is saying that Obama's recent drop was negligible and you could accurately describe his approval ratings as having remaining essentially unchanged in recent weeks, as it has been for several months.

UPDATED: FYI, If you look at the numbers, the reason for Obama's marginal dip is because self-identified GOP voters have recently decided they like him even less. i.e. Independents and Democrats haven't budged on Obama since late last year.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.