HUFFPOLLSTER: Interest In Obama's Approval Rating Rises

11/20/2013 05:17 pm ET | Updated Nov 20, 2013

More bad polling news for President Obama translates into more interest in his approval rating. The Census department responds to allegations of fraudulent interviews. And the New York Times' replacement for Nate Silver hires another Nate. This is HuffPollster for Wednesday, November 20, 2013.

ANOTHER BAD POLL FOR OBAMA - HuffPollster: "President Barack Obama's approval rating is at an all-time low, according to a CBS News poll released Wednesday, the latest in a number of recent surveys to find the president's ratings significantly down. Just 37 percent of Americans now approve of Obama's job performance, down from 46 percent in late October, CBS found….Members of Congress remain even more deeply unpopular. In the CBS poll, congressional Democrats had a 26 percent approval rating, while congressional Republicans were at 21 percent...The public's view of the Affordable Care Act is also down sharply from the past month, with only 31 percent of Americans approving in the CBS poll -- a 12-point drop from October. Just 11 percent said the rollout of health care exchanges has gone well….A majority of Americans, however, don't want the law taken off the books. While 43 percent said the law should be repealed entirely, a combined 55 percent said the law is worth keeping: 7 percent think that it's already working well, and 48 percent think that it has some good aspects but needs changes to work better." [HuffPost, CBS]

OBAMA'S APPROVAL IS DOWN, BUT INTEREST IN HIS RATING IS UP - A search of Google Trends finds that searches for Obama's approval rating, which were low during the first half of 2013, rose sharply this fall. [Google Trends]

-MassINC's Steve Koczela: "Are Obama approval figures and Google searches related? Not clearly. Here they are together." [Twitter]

-UMass Lowell's Joshua Dyck: "Seems pretty intuitive to me that searches would be related to positive and negative news" [Twitter]

UNINSURED VISITORS TO HEALTH EXCHANGES ARE MOSTLY UNIMPRESSED - Frank Newport: "Uninsured Americans who have visited a federal or state health insurance exchange website generally have been unhappy with their experience. Sixty-three percent of those who have visited say their experience using the health exchange was negative, including 30% who say it was 'very negative.' About a third, 34% say their experience was positive, with 5% rating it as 'very positive.'...Although the sample sizes are too small to look at uninsured Americans' experience with the federal and state exchanges separately, recent news reports have indicated that some state exchanges have been more successful than the federal site in signing up people for insurance….More telling, perhaps, is the finding that about eight in 10 uninsured Americans have not visited a health insurance exchange website at all, although other Gallup research has found that less than half of uninsured Americans who plan to get insurance say they intend to get it through a federal or state exchange."
[Gallup]

CENSUS RESPONDS TO ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD - Earlier this week, the New York Post accused of having "faked" a September 2012 jobs report. The Bureau responds, in a statement: "The Census Bureau takes allegations of fraud by its employees very seriously. Fabrication of data by an employee is grounds for disciplinary action, including dismissal and possible criminal action. We have no reason to believe that there was a systematic manipulation of the data described in media reports. As a statistical agency, the Census Bureau is very conscientious about our responsibility to produce accurate Current Population Survey data for the Bureau of Labor Statistics and all other surveys we conduct. We carefully cross check and verify the work of our staff to ensure the data's validity, including random quality control monitoring. That monitoring process includes reinterviewing respondents, and rechecking the data an employee has submitted, looking for red flags that indicate possible fabrication, such as abnormally short lengths of interviews or higher survey completion rates that are out of sync with normal survey collection productivity levels. That is why when we learned of the allegations of fabricated Current Population survey results, we immediately reported them to the Office of the Inspector General. " [Census, NY Post]

NYTimes columnist takes a closer look - Nelson D. Schwartz: "The methodology of the Census Bureau’s survey also makes the manipulation argument seem far-fetched at best. For starters, the household survey is based on 54,000 household interviews per month. The typical field representative handles about 37 cases a month, although that varies by office. So if a few employees in one office fudged the numbers one month, it would certainly be troubling and cause for a top-to-bottom investigation, but it would not be enough to alter the nationwide figure by much. In addition, in each 15-month period, the Census Bureau goes back two or three times and re-interviews a handful of the original subjects to make sure the results were gathered correctly….In addition, while the manipulation is alleged to have taken place in the household survey that produces the unemployment rate, subsequent revisions of the establishment survey showed parallel increases in job creation by employers." [NYT]

So does the Atlantic - Jordan Weissman: "The Bureau of Labor Statistics bases its monthly jobs report on two different surveys. The First is the household survey, which is actually run by the Census (this is the one Crudele thinks was manipulated). It calls Americans and asks about their work status to calculate the unemployment rate. Second is the payroll survey. It's conducted entirely by the BLS and state agencies and asks companies how many new workers they hired or fired each month. When you hear the economy created 185,000 jobs in a month, that's the BLS. When you hear the unemployment rate fell, that's the Census. But here's the key bit: Both surveys estimate the total number of employed Americans. And while they might show different rates of job growth in any given month, over the long run, their changes tend mirror each other...If the Census were really cooking its books to falsely lower the unemployment rate, you would expect its figures to diverge from the honest BLS survey. But that didn't really happen." [Atlantic]

-Political scientist Michael McDonald: "I've been concerned by CPS re: failure to administer voting & reg supplement. Wondering systemic interviewer issues? http://t.co/LMcyo1jqHo...for now these are allegations. If true, not detected by Census Bureau protocols which suggests deeper administrative failures." [@ElectProject]

-James Pethokoukis finds no evidence to back the "extraordinary claims" of the New York Post story. [AEI]

-Joe Weisenthal raises five problems with the Post story. [Business Insider]

NEW YORK TIMES STAFFS UP DATA JOURNALISM - Hadas Gold: "The New York Times has hired four journalists to join David Leonhardt on the new FiveThirtyEight-esque vertical. They are: The New Republic's Nate Cohn, graphs and chart maker Amanda Cox, presidential historian Michael Beschloss and Bloomberg View columnist and Brookings Institute economics fellow Justin Wolfers. On Wednesday, the Times announced that Leonhardt would step down as Washington bureau chief to oversee a new venture 'at the nexus of data and news and will produce clear analytical reporting and writing on opinion polls, economic indicators, politics, policy, education, and sports.'" [Politico]

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

-Andrew Kohut draws on survey data from 1963 to remember JFK's America. [Pew Research]

--62 percent of Americans say the killing of JFK was the work of more than one person. [ABC News]

-Most young people say it's wrong to use racist and sexist slurs online, "even if you're just kidding." [AP story, [report]]

--42 percent of Americans think Canadians get better health care than Americans do. [YouGov]

-Hillary Clinton is tied or slightly behind several possible GOP presidential contenders in Colorado. [Quinnipiac]

-Scott Clement reviews six things Americans think they know about Obamacare. [WaPost]

-Sean Trende sees no existential threat to liberalism from Obamacare. [RCP]

-John Sides observes that Liz Cheney's opposition to same-sex marriage is in line with most Republicans. [WaPost's Monkey Cage]

-David Hill (R) believes the younger voters that turned out to vote for Obama in 2008 and 2012 will lose interest in politics in 2014 and beyond. []

-Mark Mellman (D) reviews the history of public opinion on the filibuster. [The Hill]

-Micah Roberts (R) puts preference for a generic independent U.S. House candidate into perspective. [POS]

-Joshua Dyck defends his UMass Lowell surveys on the Boston mayoral race. [Commonwealth]

-Nate Silver hires more staff. [USA Today]

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