Monday, September 19, 2005

Don't Panic!

At a first sight, it looks like there cannot be no doubts: US citizens are fed up with George W. Bush. Less than a year from his triumphant re-election, the White House tenant is crushing in all the public opinion polls, in some cases even sliding below the “fatal threshold" of 40%. In Newsweek’s poll, as an example, the President doesn’t go beyond an embarrassing 38%. And Bush’s image is put under heavy pressure also by the polls of FoxNews (41%), CBS News and New York Times (41%), NBC News and Wall Street Journal (40%), ABC News and Washington Post (42%), Pew Research (40%), Time (42%). So, is it all true? Are finally right (for once) the media that – on both shores of the Atlantic Ocean – keep shooting at the Republican administration? The question is more complicated than it looks to be. Because at least two pollsters, in the last days, have been drawing an after all reassuring scenario for the American right in sight of 2006 mid-term elections. And we are dealing with polls that, for a series of very sound reasons, we have to keep in the highest consideration. Gallup’s figures (for CNN and Usa Today), which since decades are considered the most reliable index of job-approval of a President, for instance, show Bush in growth at 46%. While Rasmussen Reports (that is the source of the above graph) sees the President swinging around 47% from the beginning of September, without never getting below 44%. It’s interesting to note how Rasmussen, differing from all remaining pollsters, keeps on measuring job approval on a daily basis since the start of 2004, using a broader sample than his competitors and summing the data related to a time span of three day to minimize the influence of “statistical noise”. Well, without background noises, Bush’s figures are by far less ugly than newspapers tell us. Without counting that the most faithful supporters of the President can find a further reason not to surrender to defeatism. Do you know who was, last November, the pollster that - while Zogby fussed with numbers (literally) – forecast with the closest precision the outcome of the presidential elections and of the individual challenges of House, Senate and Governorships? We provide you a hint: his name starts by Rasm and ends by Ussen.

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