Recently Matt Drudge used a curious headline "Obama Approve/Disapprove Reach Parity" to link to the RealClearPolitics Average, which now shows the President with a 49% approval rating and a 46% disapproval rating. To us, this revelation was far from shocking; it is the extension of a trend we have seen emerging as far back as this past August.
Our interactive polling began to show the President's predicament not long after the health care town hall events finished unsettling the usually calm Washington August. Since that time, his standing among political independents has fluctuated from a low of 36% to a high of 47%. And with every dip in the President's support among independents, his overall approval has followed.
The RealClearPolitics average itself first dropped below 50% at the end of November of last year and has shown the parity of the President's approval fairly consistently over the past several months. But when you look at the RealClearPolitics chart, you may notice something missing. Though our interactive tracking polls for the past 6 months align with the trend shown by the polling average, our interactive results are not included in the data set.
RealClearPolitics is not alone in failing to report our interactive methodology, though the number of outlets dismissing this methodology grows fewer every day. News outlets who hold fast to a belief in the telephone only world of polling miss the chance to seize on a new and better source of public opinion -- the increasing number of Americans who are moving into the online world in droves and who go there to voice their opinions.
For those who wonder about the track record of our interactive they need look no further than our performance in the 2004, 2006 and 2008 elections.
So while many pollsters continue to argue that the landline telephone is the only true polling methodology available, doubling down on a technology that grows more obsolete by the day gives new meaning to the word foolhardy. Rather than place the same foolish bets, we have invested in developing new technologies and new methodologies since 1998 -- like our Zogby Interactive polling, which allows us to keep our finger on the pulse of the new interconnected and interactive America.
There will be those who bemoan internet based polling and will rant about methodology issues until they have exhausted all available oxygen in the room, but for all the shouting in the world one fact remains - internet-based polling will be a vital part of the future. And while no one methodology is perfect, having spent the past decade refining our interactive panel of nearly 500,000 respondents, we can say that the view from the head of this trend is a good one and we look forward to the day when the rest of the industry catches up.
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