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Trying to read into the president’s (inconsistent?) poll numbers

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:45 pm - February 19, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,We The People

Back before the New Year when the president’s approval rating languished in the low 40s, I always assumed that he might be in decent shape (for reelection) even if his approval rating didn’t quite reach 50%.  I based this assumption on conversations with liberals who grumble about his performance in office, yet rush to defend him when the subject of his reelection comes up.

They may not approve of his job performance, but come November, they’ll rally to his cause.

He would, I contended, poll better in match-ups against a Republican than he does in polls on his job performance.  So, I was stunned earlier this week to see a New York Times/CBS News poll, which tends to lean left, pegging the president’s “job rating at exactly 50 percent“, but showing him with a lesser tally when matched up against the various Republicans running against him.  Against Mitt Romney, he drew only 48% of the vote, one point higher when facing off against Rick Santorum.

One explanation for this phenomenon could be that, in the past seven weeks, with the media focus on the Republican contest, the president has been gradually winning back his base.  My liberal Facebook friends have expressed delight at his recess appointments and the contraception mandate, with several seeing such moves as evidence he’s finally fighting for the principles they share.

Even as the president’s current poll numbers nationally look better than they did last fall, with him running slightly ahead of the leading Republican contenders, some state polls show him in trouble.  A recent poll in Iowa, a state which George W. Bush lost narrowly in 2000, won narrowly in 2004 and which Obama won by nearly 10 points 4 years ago, shows Obama running between three of the four remaining Republican candidates, running ahead only of Newt Gingrich.

A recent survey of Washington State voters showed Obama with an approval rating of only 42 (with 47% disapproving).  Ed Morrissey reminds us that the Democrat won the state of Washington by seventeen points in 2008, and it is a bastion of Democratic strength and enthusiasm”: (more…)

Preliminary thoughts on the Sheriff Babeu Hullabaloo

If covering the allegations against Herman Cain taught me anything,” writes Tina Korbe about the allegations leveled against Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu . . .

. . . it’s to wait for more information to come to a conclusion about accusations of a personal nature. It’s almost never possible to be certain of the facts in he-said-she-said (or, in this case, he-said-he-said) controversies, but a general sense of things gradually emerges.

As many of our readers know, Babeu “stepped down Saturday from a state leadership position with Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign after a newspaper published allegations that he threatened to deport a former boyfriend.

In a press conference yesterday, Babeu denied all but one of the allegations against him:

Yesterday, a tabloid article made a number of false allegations about me. Only one was true: I’m gay. Today, I held a press conference to discuss this. I want to be judged on my service: 20 years in the military, two deployments – including one in Iraq, a police officer who has responded to thousands of calls for help, and a Sheriff who has cut response times while reducing my own budget. I hope you will stand with me as we talk about the issues that matter: securing our border and ending the record debt and deficit spending that is stalling our economy and bankrupting the country we all love.

Provided Babeu is telling the truth, there is no story here save the invasion of the Sheriff’s privacy.  It seems that our friends in the media believe we should respect the private lives of gay politicians under only one condition — they’re not Republicans. (more…)

LA gas prices up 14 cents in 4 days

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:36 pm - February 19, 2012.
Filed under: Economy,LA Stories

Four days ago, I posted a picture of the prices at the Shell station at the corner of Fairfax and Beverly in Los Angeles–one of the cheapest places to get gas in the Hollywood area.  Then, a gallon of regular was $3.93.  Here’s a picture of the same sign taken four days later:

Up 14 cents in just 4 days. No wonder the AP is reporting that “Gasoline prices have never been higher this time of the year“:

At $3.53 a gallon, prices are already up 25 cents since Jan. 1. And experts say they could reach a record $4.25 a gallon by late April.

Since they’re already approaching that level in LA this week, seems that it’ll cost us more than $5 to buy a gallon of gas come Memorial Day. And then some.

UPDATE: For several reasons, Steven Hayward finds “curious” a New York Times story suggesting that rising gasoline prices may present a political problem for Obama:

First, Obama, like all right-thinking greenies, want gasoline prices to be higher, though, to be sure, they want high prices brought about by a government tax rather than the marketplace.  High gas prices are no fun if it means more profits for private oil companies.  Obama admitted this directly when asked about high gas prices in 2008, when he said he didn’t have a problem with them, only that he “would have preferred a gradual adjustment.”  Well, prices have crept up gradually since they collapsed back to about $2 a gallon in 2008.  So what’s his problem?

Read the whole thing for his analysis of how gas prices relate to presidential approval.