POLITICS
08/19/2013 05:47 pm ET

HUFFPOLLSTER: Obama's Approval Rating 'Summer Swoon' Strikes Again

AP

The dog days have been unkind to Barack Obama. Americans are ready to cut off aid to Egypt. And we can't stop tweeting about a study that made exaggerated claims about Twitter. Discuss. This is HuffPollster for Monday, August 19, 2013.

OBAMA’S RATINGS TAKE THEIR ANNUAL ‘SUMMER SWOON’ - Jeffrey M. Jones: “President Barack Obama's job approval rating has shown a pattern of decline over the course of the summer months during his presidency. From June through August, his approval rating shows a noticeable dip each month, resulting in an average approval rating below 46% in August, the worst he has averaged in any month of the year....It is not obvious why this apparent pattern occurs. One possibility is the president is a bit less active in the summer months with Congress out of session for most of August and around the summer holidays. And presidents typically go on vacation themselves during the summer. Also, Americans may pay less attention to the news and what the president is doing during the summer and may be somewhat more reluctant to say they approve without that information. Obama's predecessors in the Oval Office, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, did not suffer the same month-to-month drop in approval rating through the summer months that Obama has. But that doesn't mean the summer months were kind to them, either. In fact, for both Bush and Clinton, their lowest approval averages by month were for June, July, and August.” [Gallup]

-RCP's Sean Trende: "The Obama 'summer swoon' really is an interesting phenomenon. Like clockwork." [@SeanTrende]

MAJORITY BACKS ENDING AID TO EGYPT - Pew Research: “With violence continuing to rage in Egypt, 51% of Americans say it is better for the United States to cut off military aid to Egypt to put pressure on the government. This is nearly double the percentage (26%) saying it is better to continue military aid to the government in order to maintain influence in Egypt....While the public favors cutting off U.S. aid to the Egyptian government, the country’s military is widely seen as better leaders for Egypt than the Muslim Brotherhood: 45% say the military could provide better leadership compared with 11% who say the Muslim Brotherhood. Nearly one-in-five (19%) volunteer than neither side can better lead Egypt, while 25% say they don’t know. The violence and chaos in Egypt has not attracted much in the way of interest among the U.S. public. Just 22% say they are following news about violence in Egypt very closely, while another 29% are following events there fairly closely.” [Pew Research]

BACKLASH CONTINUES AGAINST CLAIM OF TWITTER ELECTION PREDICTIONS -NYU political scientist Jonathan Nagler: "More importantly, does the tweet share actually influence anything? It might come as no surprise that the tweet share is correlated with the winner of the election: that is pretty much what we would expect. The winner will generally have more name-recognition, spend more money and have a more active campaign. All those things should generate more twitter chatter. What we want to know is: does the chatter on twitter about a candidate affect what people think of the candidate? Does it make them more, or less, likely to vote for the candidate? These are interesting questions that my colleagues at the SMaPP lab at NYU and I are trying to answer." [Monkey Cage, SMaPP Lab]

There’s more to polling than just the horserace - Political scientist Jonathan Bernstein: "Even if this technique really holds up—and, again, I’m skeptical—it’s just not clear what it gives us. Knowing that the candidate who generates the most publicity also wins the most votes? Yeah, we already know that. Being able to therefore predict the winner? Eh. The election is going to happen; with all due respect to poll aggregators such as Nate Silver and Mark Blumenthal, that part of what they do isn’t very important at all. After all, sooner or later the election will happen, and then we’ll all know who won; knowing the likely winner in advance doesn’t really do much in the big scheme of things. What we get from polling—and for that matter, the data available from social media—are far more informative than that. [Prospect]

"How Not To Publicize Your Research" - University of Denver political scientist Seth Masket: "So [Rojas] basically declared war on the polling industry. Which means that thousands of political practitioners just went from not caring about a piece of academic research to wanting to destroy it. Now, of course, sometimes it's good to make a few enemies, especially if you're right and they're clearly wrong. But that doesn't appear to be the case here. Twitter data may, on the margins, improve our forecast of an election, but that doesn't obviate polling, and it doesn't remotely undermine the other valuable functions polling serves, such as knowing how various subgroups are behaving and figuring out what people think about various public policy options and why they think it. [Mischiefs of Faction]

Marist Poll senior analyst Natalie Jackson, via Twitter: "Lesson: don't make incendiary claims about an entire field when your research needs a lot of work, [especially] modeling." [@NatalieMJ84]

HUFFPOLLSTER VIA EMAIL! - You can receive this daily update every weekday via email! Just enter your email address in the box on the upper right corner of this page, and click "sign up." That's all there is to it (and you can unsubscribe anytime).

MONDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to more news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-Two GOP sponsored polls show Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) in a tough race to retain her seat. [Roll Call]

-Parents back standardized testing of students to help evaluate teachers and schools. [AP]

-Nate Cohn runs actuarial tables on the 2016 candidates. [TNR]

-Michael Bloomberg paid for a poll to convince Ray Kelly to run for NYC mayor. [Politico]

-How "old-fashioned shoe leather" and "high-tech microtargeting" is paving the way for Obamacare. [Forbes]

-Watch an ICPSR lecture on presidential election forecasting, featuring Simon Jackman, Drew Linzer, Mike Traugott, Michael Lewis-Beck and Mary Stegmaier. [YouTube via @DrewLinzer]

-Wendy Wang summarizes findings on the work balance mothers seek. [Pew Research]

-James Glanz sees little economic boost from "big data." [NYTimes]

-AAPOR releases a summary of its Report on Non-Probability Sampling. [AAPOR]

CONVERSATIONS