Articles and Analysis


US: National Survey (Fox 4/20-21)

Topics: National , poll

Fox News / Opinion Dynamics
4/20-21/10; 900 registered voters, 3% margin of error
373 Democrats, 5% margin of error
328 Republicans, 5% margin of error
160 independents, 8% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Fox News: Story Congress, Toplines Congress, Story Economy, Toplines Economy)


Obama Job Approval
46% Approve, 46% Disapprove (chart)
Dems: 82 / 12 (chart)
Reps: 10 / 82 (chart)
Inds: 39 / 47 (chart)

Congressional Job Approval
22% Approve, 68% Disapprove (chart)

2010 Congress: Generic Ballot
42% Republican, 38% Democrat (chart)
36% Democrat, 24% Republican, 13% Tea Party

"Based on what you know, do you favor or oppose the Democratic plan for regulating Wall Street and the financial services industry?"
39% Favor, 39% Oppose

"Regardless of whether you've attended a Tea Party rally or event, do you consider yourself to be part of the Tea Party movement, or not?"
17% Yes, 77% No

Party ID
41% Democrat, 36% Republican, 18% independent (chart)



Not that far off from Q's 44 approval. I wonder if O is maybe slowly crossing into that 45/46 range now and out of that 47-49 range he was kind of stuck in for a while....I guess we'll see with more polls.41 percent Dem party ID seems high...only 18 Indy's.

I read somewhere that Indy's now outnumber both Dems and reps in 10 states.....



For fox to have Obama even I will take it.




"Not that far off from Q's 44 approval. I wonder if O is maybe slowly crossing into that 45/46 range now and out of that 47-49 range he was kind of stuck in for a while"

Your question makes no sense. How can his approval rating be trending down when his approval has actually IMPROVED in this poll. Also, his approval in the Q poll is no different than in their last poll. It is was 45 is their penultimate poll and it is 44 in their latest poll. The RCP and Pollster.com averages have been fairly stable in the past few months. Much of the variation among individual pollsters seem like statistical noise. For instance, he had an approval of 45-48 in gallup about a week or two ago, and yet today he is at 49-43 in gallup.

The only significant change in the last 3 months is a slight increase(maybe a point or 2)
in his disapproval rating, which is not surprising given that this is a mid-term election year.



williame123 has it right. Obama was sitting very "unpretty" at 43% in the last FOX poll and was at 46-48% the the previous one. So this is is best performance over the past 3 polls spanning a little over a month, and the trend for FOX, at least can't possibly be argued to be downwards.




You can't be serious.

This is a +5% improvement from the last FOX News poll. Trends and net approval are far more important than any kind of "range."

Also, apparently the Tea Party is sucking away a ton of support from the Republicans. All of this from FOX, nonetheless.



Settle down people...it was a harmless comment qualified with having to see mroe polls. As my daughter would say, take a chill pill.



You know they're desperate when the obamapologists cling to a fox poll to try to show evidence of anything. Seems to me they absolutely ripped that previous fox poll to shreds and now that this shows an improvement from that one, they love this one.

If the previous one was so slanted and horrible then why celebrate obama with a 46% approval rating. That along with a 22% approval for congress and with the democrats 4 points under republicans in the generic ballot, doesn't do anything to change the trend of the bloodbath for democrats in November.




Stillow is right: "take a chill pill." Is there anyway you can rename your login without putting it in all caps. "Gary Wagner" is much easier on the eyes.

Sadly, I'm not able to join these discussions on a more frequent basis these days as I am travelling outside the country until mid-May. I'll catch you guys then.

BTW, the stock market was up again yesterday. The economy is definitely improving. We'll see how this affects poll numbers for incumbents between now and November. I know one thing is certain: it doesn't help single issue candidates.

As the President, tackles more and more objectives, it's going to be hard for single issue candidates to push the importance of a single issue. I'm thinking about the "deficiters." Between now and November, issues such as foreign policy and immigration will work themselves back into the conversation.

Clearly, the President is going to get his "WIN" on financial reform. It's going to be impossible for Republicans to stop him

Next, his pick for the Supreme Court will may excite his base.

It's a long time between now and November. We'll see what happens.

This is a good poll.




As the President tackles more and more objectives, it's going to be hard for single issue candidates to push the importance of a single issue.

Next, his pick for the Supreme Court may excite his base.



His polling has been basically the same all year. Split down the middle.

Individual polls are just statistical noise. For instance, this poll says 46/46 with a 3% margin of error. So saying that his approval is "slipping from a 49-47 range" to 46-45 range doesn't make any sense, because all those numbers are still within the margin of this poll. More specifically, this poll indicates his approval could just ask likely be 49%, and his disapproval could be 43%.

The margin of error is usually a radius around a certain point. When you get a statistic, like 46%, with a 3% MOE, it means the real number lies somewhere within 43 - 49.


Also, apparently the Tea Party is sucking away a ton of support from the Republicans.

What do you mean? Is the Tea Party going to be in the ballot?




Not that I know of. But if they do, the Dems only lose %2 of their support while the Republicans lose a whopping 18%. If the Tea Party starts to run their own candidates, it's not good news for the Republicans.



I wonder if there will be Tea Party rallies in support of Wall Street regulation. Didn't they form out of opposition to bailout money? Since they're "not associated with the GOP or the Democrats", they should be glad someone is making it possible to keep this situation from happening again. FOX should poll it, since the Tea Party is kind of their baby.


Steven Guffey:

A frequent comment about polls made by commenters is that if the value changes by less than the "margin of error" then the change should be dismissed as suggesting a trend. Likewise, if one candidate is ahead of another by less than the margin of error, their lead means little or nothing.

While I would not bet the farm on a 2-3% difference in polls, if I had to bet, I would bet on the one who is ahead according to the poll(s). It is like being ahead by 3 points in basketball with 1 minute to go: you are not certain to win, but every coach in the country would rather be the one in the lead because they will win more often than not, though perhaps not 95% of the time. I will definitely take a 60% chance of winning over a 40% chance. Indeed, casinos get fat off a much smaller marginal advantage over gamblers.

Likewise, if I were a politician, I would be more confident with a positive margin than a negative one, even if it were well within the margin of error. Indeed, if a 95% confidence interval is used, there is only a 5% chance that the error equals the standard error or is greater. Since there is an equal chance that the advantage is even greater than the poll showed, the chance that a negative gap is all error is less than 2.5%.

Finally, if you average severals polls, the combined margin of error is divided by the square root of the number of polls (it is a bit more finicky than that, but the errors are unimportant). That is why the two most accurate predictors of the last presidential race were the RCP and Nate Silver, both of which simply averaged poll results.

The benefits of averaging work well as long as there is no overall bias. Suppose, for example, that all pollsters make conscious or unconscious decisions that skew their polls in one direction or the other. If, for example, there is more biased polling by liberal pollsters than by conservative pollsters, the group average will be biased to favor liberals to some degree. The overall bias will equal the sum of liberal minus the sum of conservative biases divided by the number of polls.

Hence, a heavily biased pollster (i.e., KOS) skews the results much more than a mildly biased one. If every poll is counted equally, frequent pollers (e.g., Rasmussen and Gallup) will have more opportunities to skew the bias than less frequent pollsters.

However, far more important than subtle biases is the difficulty in obtaining representative sampling. Rasmussen weights his results by his estimations of the likelihood of voting. If he guesses wrongly, he can introduce a substantial biases (a frequent accusation).

However, the greatest error is FAILING to consider likelihood of voting. All adults are not equally likely to vote and the differences in voting are substantially different for different groups. The participation rate for different groups varies substantially for mid-term, special, and presidential elections.

Last, most pollsters weight results by estimated percentages of registered Republicans, Democrats, and others; some weight by past voting percentages. Rasmussen frequently conducts large polls to estimate party affiliation at a given time.

If I wish to favor Democrats running for office, I would use party identification by registration to use for the percent allocations and self-identification during the poll for determining vote by party. That procedure overestimates votes for Democrats because in many parts of the country, effective participation in local elections favors those registered as Democrats, simply because the only competition is at the primary stage in contests between democrats. That is the case, I believe, in virtually all cities and in much of the South.

In the South when I was a young man, nearly everyone registered as democrats for a simple reason: you could not get a job with local or state government and you would be disfavored in almost any transactions involving the bureacracy if you did not. I have not checked to see how true that still is, but I would guess that it is still true though perhaps not as much. This accounts for part of the problem democrats have in getting a high percentage of votes from registered democrats in actual elections.

I can read that many commenters here know all that I pointed out above, but some of you either don't, disagree (I would be interested in rational arguments), or just respond to their partisan urges.




Yes you've expressed what a lot of us think, but very clearly and fairly.

I like your basketball analogy (Go Spurs Go!) when thinking about the MoE. However, when the poll has an MoE of 4.5% or something like that and the margin is less than 3%, then I would say it really is 50/50, not 60/40. With a small lead well within the MoE, it's more like being up 2 points with a minute left - all they need to beat you is one basket and a stop, and a million intangibles can influence what happens. When it's more on the edge of the MoE, then it's more like being up 5 with a minute left, then they need a 2 baskets, preferably one of them a 3-point, and two big stops.

This poll sampled 900 RVs with a quite large MoE, particularly that enormous 8% among the 160 independents. Approval among them might be 47% or 31%! Crazy. I think it's reflective of the difficulty in determining an independent's likelihood of voting, or who they'll vote for.

The percentages that the tea party gets really reminds me of the kinds of numbers Ross Perot used to get, except he pulled more evenly from D's and R's. The tea party pulls almost double from R's what it does from D's.


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