Monday, January 15, 2007


Just adding to what Josh says, it's relevant to note that Bush hasn't hit 50 in Gallup since May of 2005. I'd bet a reasonable sum that he won't hit 50 again while he's in office. One wonders why questions such as "why does hideously unpopular president think a teevee appearance will persuade anyone?" don't appear regularly.

In 1998 when Clinton's personal favorability rating flirted with sub-50 this was evidence he should resign. An odd poll, with a strangely re-worded question, was touted as a reason he should. Tweety:

MATTHEWS: Overnight, the polls--the Gallup poll, the most respected poll in the country, shows a 20-point drop in the president's personal approval rating, down from 60 percent to 40 percent. Big cut in personal approval, followed by, today, lots of noise on the Democratic side. The usual suspects, meaning Dan Quayle, Dan Coats and other Republicans, Mr. Ashcroft--Senator Ashcroft of Missouri, have called for his resignation. Perhaps no surprise there, but some very important Democrats, led by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, have really shown their anger at what they perceive to be betrayal and deceit for six months, seven months now, of saying one thing and now turning it around and saying he wasn't telling the truth--by the president.

Bill Sammon, what's happening on the Hill?

Mr. BILL SAMMON (Washington Times): Well, I think you're starting to see more and more people talk about resignation. I think a--at this stage of the game, it seems somewhat extreme. But I think you have to remember in this scandal, things that started out seeming extreme have a way of, over a period of months, settling into the consciousness and becoming more of the norm. So I th...

MATTHEWS: Well, let's ca--let's calibrate this. Where are we then? Let's not jump ahead and talk about...


MATTHEWS: ...the president's resignation. Is there now more of a stir on the Democratic side o--of perhaps si--dissatisfaction? Well, you--you p--you're the reporter. You go through it. What is the reaction to the president's speech on the Democratic side last night?

Mr. SAMMON: Well, I think you're s--there's still a lot of reluctance to--to jump into it. There's still a lot of feeling th--Let's hold back and let's not get into this and see what the fallout is.' Congressman Convers, the--the guy on the Judiciary Committee...

MATTHEWS: John Conyers of Michigan.

Mr. SAMMON: Right--he was going to go on "Larry King" last night. And at the last minute, he canceled and said, You know, I wanna wait a day and see what the fallout is.' And I think that typifies a lot of the response you're seeing. It's a very volatile situation right now we're in. It's very fluid. Clinton's numbers are dropping. I think a lot of people expected a bump out of his...


A small change in the wording of a poll question by The Gallup Organization led to a significant overstatement of the drop in President Clinton's personal favorability rating after his speech on Monday.

Instead of a 20-point drop in personal favorability, reported by Gallup and picked up by several news organizations, including The New York Times in both its news and editorial pages, the actual drop now appears to be considerably less.

In Monday's survey, taken after the President's speech, respondents were asked: ''Now thinking about Bill Clinton as a person, do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him?'' That elicited responses from the public that were 40 percent favorable and 48 percent unfavorable. In previous Gallup polls the wording was: ''Now I'd like to get your opinion about some people in the news. As I read the name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of this person.''

Last week, that traditional wording resulted in public impressions of Mr. Clinton that were 60 percent favorable and 38 percent unfavorable. Thus, it appeared on Monday that there had been a 20-percentage point drop in Mr. Clinton's personal ratings.

In a poll on Tuesday, Gallup used the traditional wording and measured 55 percent favorable views of Mr. Clinton and 42 percent unfavorable.

Bush's last several favorability ratings are: 45, 38, 42, 39, 46, 48. Any discussion of resignation?

...adding, the guest list on that particular episode of Hardball was:

Bill Sammon
Susan Molinari
Victoria Toensing
David Maraniss
Peter Fenn