March 24, 2009

Is Gallup the Outlier Poll?

Scanning through the polling on Obama job approval, there's some interesting results;

  • Rasmussen - March 24 - 56% Approval, 43% Disapproval
  • Zogby - according to the Boston Herald, Zogby will release a poll today showing results at or near 50/50 for approval/disapproval
  • Quinnipiac
  • American Research Group - March 20 - 56% Approval 37% Disapproval (on economy it's 49/44)
  • CNN and CBS both have Obama's approval in the low 60's but the results are 8-10 days old
And what does Gallup currently show? Obama's approval at 65% and his disapproval 26%. Gallup's results, unlike CBS or CNN's are within the last 2 days. And unlike CNN or CBS, you'd expect Gallup to be impartial. But they've consistently shown better results for President Obama than Rasmussen, ARG and other polls. Why the discrepancy?

The difference with Rasmussen is likely explainable by the target of the polls. Rasmussen polls likely voters and Gallup is polling adults. The latter is less accurate come election time, but arguably a better indicator of the mood of the nation. Still, it appears the Gallup numbers are skewed in favor of President Obama.

There is in recent polls a definite slide in support and an even more definite growth in disapproval of the President. This has come predominantly, as you'd expect from Republicans and disaffected independents. While Gallup has shown a slide from nearly 70% approval to the mid-60's, the polling has remained flat since early February. This is at odds with other major polls.

Is Gallup polling incorrectly, are they biased, are their results just an outlier versus other polls? No one can be certain as to which, but the fact is that their results are indeed different from others. As a result of that, their polling should be taken with a grain or two of salt.

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