The headlines regarding The Washington Post-ABC News poll just released focus on the finding that Confidence In Obama Reaches New Low.

I certainly understand why that is the headline, but only if one digs deep into the actual polling data does one get a true picture of how the nation is moving against Obama.

On Obama’s approval rating (Question 1), 35 percent strongly disapprove versus 28 percent who strongly approve. The data accompanying Question No. 1 shows that the strongly approve/strongly disapprove gap has increase significantly since the beginning of the year, when the strongly disapprove responses were only 1-3 percentage points higher than strongly approve. As late as November 2009, the strongly approve numbers exceeded the strongly disapprove.

The net effect is that public sentiment is moving against Obama not only in the aggregate, but particularly in the realm of people who have strong feelings. This is consistent with what Rasmussen shows in its daily tracking poll.

Indeed, as one goes through the questions, the strength of opposition to Obama outdistances the strength of support to a much greater extent than the overall numbers. Here are some examples (strongly disapprove/strongly approve):

  • Handling of economy (Q2b: 41/20)
  • Handling of health care (Q2e: 40/27)
  • Handling of budget deficit (Q2g: 45/20)

An astonishing 90% of people have a negative view as to the state of the economy, including 46% who view the economy as “poor” (Question 23) and only 27% see the economy “getting better” versus 32% “getting worse” (Question 24).

When it came to whether government should spend to stimulate the economy, the poll asked a skewed question. Questions 25 was phrased with a clear bias in favor of a positive response, by using the words “in a way that creates jobs.” Nonetheless, even with this questioning bias, people evenly split on government spending:

25. Do you think the federal government should spend more money to try to boost the economy in a way that creates jobs, or do you think that whether or not jobs are created should be left to the private sector?

Should Spend More – 48

Left to Private Sector – 48

No Opinion – 4

Interestingly, in Question 26, 18% respondents who answered that the government should spend more money, then changed their minds if the spending would increase the deficit.

So net-net, 57% of people (either initially or after the follow up question) were against increased government spending even if it were spent “in a way that creates jobs.” Questions 25 and 26 demonstrate the strong opposition to government spending which increases the deficit.

Last, but perhaps more important, the poll tested self-identification, similar to what Gallup has been doing. As with Gallup, the poll found that substantially more people identify themselves as conservative than liberal (Question 908a):

Liberal – 22
Conservative – 39
Moderate – 35

So what does this poll show, when all the questions are taken into consideration? The Democrats’ worst nightmare:

An increasingly conservative nation moving strongly against the two foundations of the Democratic Party: Government stimulus spending and Obama.

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