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News Do a President's Poll Numbers Influence his Poll Numbers?

  1. Yes

    14 vote(s)
  2. No

    0 vote(s)
  3. Other (please specify)

    1 vote(s)
  1. Jul 19, 2006 #1
    First off, let me put my little disclaimer out there:

    There are thousands, if not millions, of factors which influence approval ratings/poll numbers. I am not saying that this effect, if found to exist, is decisive. Additionally, this is not a political potshot or dig against anybody. Poll numbers are taken for all Presidents.

    Bearing that in mind, let me introduce what I hope to address here.

    There was a period a few months ago when I watched CNN daily for more than two weeks. It seemed to me that CNN reported President Bush's approval ratings every day during that time period. Even if the approval ratings were a week old, they were used as segways into segments; i.e. "with approval ratings at all-time lows, President Bush today defended his NSA wiretap program."

    After a time I began to wonder whether the downward trend of Bush's approval ratings was due at least in part to what I perceived as aggressive reporting of the same.

    It made sense to me: an avid newswatcher might be induced to erase his "slightly disapprove" and mark "strongly disapprove" if he thought to himself, "you know, two-thirds of this country disapproves of George Bush; 'slightly disapprove' isn't strong enough." Even if the poll numbers aren't directly in the conscience of the polling sample, they might contribute to an overall mood the sample has toward the President, similar to a dislike some of you may have had toward a certain person, but you can't remember why.

    So, in my opinion, poll numbers do influence subsequent polls. From what I observed a few months ago, there may even be a little bit of a snowball effect as each polling sample is exposed to the downward ratcheting of approval ratings.

    There would probably also be a positive snowballing if public approval for the President increased considerably.

    That is my two cents.

    Feel free to weigh in.

    Try not to be influenced by the thread's poll numbers. :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 19, 2006 #2
    My guess is that poll numbers do influence subsequent polls to a small extent. It's a sort of "jumping on the bandwagon" effect. A politician's approval rating declines or increases, and others are influenced to fell the same way. I don't think it's a huge effect, but I think it is there.
  4. Jul 19, 2006 #3


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    "Other:" poll numbers are influenced by the result the poll taker is seeking.
  5. Jul 19, 2006 #4
    That depends entirely on the poll. If the poll taker is honestly seeking the participants opinion, the poll questions are carefully constructed to not bias the poll participant. If the poll taker is seeking a certain result the questions would be constructed to bias the participant. If the poll taker just wants to spread dis-information, then you have questions like this:


    I believe that the poor poll numbers do hurt a president's popularity. His supporters are less likely to be vocal, therefore they are open to unflattering new information. His detractors are louder, more confident, and readily disseminating unflattering information. Poor polls create a steamroll effect, however it can be reversed quickly with good news about his policies being effective.
  6. Jul 19, 2006 #5


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    The poll taker is "seeking" to make a living --- that means getting the results the contracting party seeks --- if the contracting party seeks information, you can get an honest poll (Neilsen ratings, that sort of stuff) --- if the contracting party is having a poll done for political purposes, forget it.
  7. Jul 19, 2006 #6
    Well stricktly speaking this is not disinformation. Nowhere in the question does it assert he had.
    But I agree it is rather suggestive.
  8. Jul 19, 2006 #7


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    Some results have more effect than others. If the ordinary voter who leans toward the presidential party (whichever it is) becomes aware that party loyalists are "abandoning the ship" then that could break through his/her tendency to forgive an awful lot in his party's president and lead him if subsequently polled to express discouragement.
  9. Jul 19, 2006 #8
    You are correct. It is not spreading disinformation, it is the starting and spreading of rumors.

    It is also indicative of the way Bushco operates. They are totally ruthless when it comes to promoting their agenda. (I don't believe I/we know their true agenda) Note the marketing blitz to sell the Iraq invasion and continuing occupation.

    Bad Bush poll numbers are the only good news we have had since Bushco took over.
  10. Jul 19, 2006 #9
    Well politicians must be Machiavellians to become successful.

    I do not see a point in singling out Bush, unless it is a ruthless way of promoting an agenda. :wink:
  11. Jul 20, 2006 #10


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    It's a matter of degree.

    The Lee Atwater - Karl Rove school are among the worst when it comes to 'lowball' politics.

    Atwater was particularly ruthless - people said if there were two options equally effective available, Atwater would choose the dirtiest, either out of pleasure or just to maintain that intimidating image future opponents would have of him.

    Rove is actually a little more creative than Atwater, but, being one of Atwater's cohorts, has the attitude that there is no such thing as clean or dirty politics - there's just effective politics. He's careful to avoid letting morals affect him one way or the other.

    He started out his career in campaigning by being arrested for breaking into his opponent's campaign headquarters and stealing the campaign's official letterhead. He used the letterhead to invite the homeless, alcoholics, etc to a Democratic fundraiser promising free food and alcohol. About as funny a campaign trick as you can pull, but it was still breaking and entering. Being a college student, it was chalked up as a college prank gone awry and wound up being a boost to his career as a campaign consultant rather than a bad mark.

    The fact that guys like Atwater and Rove are actually effective is a pretty disillusioning comment on politics in general.
  12. Jul 20, 2006 #11
    Not to me, it reflects the dynamics of the masses. Politics in a democracy is all about representation, ultimately the masses decide who are "good" politicians.
  13. Jul 21, 2006 #12


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    Maybe so, but it's nice to see lowball tactics backfire once in a while: http://www.gazette.com/display.php?id=1319425&secid=1 [Broken]

    Maybe Lamborn should have been more selective about who he allowed to participate in his campaign. Doesn't do to have squeamish people about that defect to the other side in disgust. :rolleyes:

    Of course, things like this only seem to happen in the primaries. If Lamborn were attacking Democrats instead of his fellow Republicans, the attack ad probably would have been seen as more acceptable.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  14. Jul 21, 2006 #13
    I find it repugnant that anyone would stoop to that level period. Politics is about more than just a single issue. Yet people fall for it time and again and seem to vote based on a single issue. Makes me kind of disgusted with the populace in general (and both conservatives and liberals are guilty of the same thing).
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