May 13, 2011

List of Unsupportable Assertions in the Associated Press’s Three Reports on the Latest AP-GfK Poll

GfKpollSamplesJanMarMay2011The latest AP-GfK poll conducted on May 5-9 and released on May 11 is the third of three poll whose partisan weightings have changed as indicated on the right.

In my next Pajamas Media column which will appear shortly, I write that “Because the polls are not representative, and because they have become successively less representative in their last three efforts, at least two dozen assertions made in the three AP reports … are not supported by the underlying poll results.”

What follows is a less than complete list of unsupportable assertions (the three reports involved have been saved at my web host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes):

May 11, 7:16 a.m., Liz Sidoti and Jennifer Agiesta; “AP-GfK poll: Obama approval hits 60 percent”

“President Barack Obama’s approval rating has hit its highest point in two years – 60 percent – and more than half of Americans now say he deserves to be re-elected …”

“… the president’s standing improved not just on foreign policy but also on the economy …”

“Nearly three-fourths (of Americans) – 73 percent – also now say they are confident that Obama can effectively handle terrorist threats.”

“Despite a sluggish recovery from the Great Recession, 52 percent of Americans now approve of Obama’s stewardship of the economy, giving him his best rating on that issue since the early days of his presidency …”

“Also, more Americans – 45 percent, up from 35 percent in March – say the country is headed in the right direction.”

“Obama’s overall political boost comes at an important time. He is embarking on his re-election campaign and is in the early days of a debate with Republicans who control the House over raising the country’s debt limit. But it’s unclear how long Obama’s strengthened standing will last in the aftermath of bin Laden’s death.”

“Overall, Obama’s approval rating is up slightly from 53 percent in March and a 47 percent low point following last fall’s midterm congressional elections …”

“Also, 53 percent now say he deserves to be re-elected; 43 percent say he should be fired …”

Sixty-nine percent say Obama will keep America safe, up from 61 percent in March; 65 percent call him a ‘strong leader,’ up from 57 percent.”

“Sixty-three percent say Obama cares about people like them; 63 percent also say that he understands the problems of ordinary Americans.”

“Sixty-three percent view Obama favorably, up from 59 percent in March.”

“Nearly two-thirds of people – 61 percent – disapprove of his handling on gas prices, even though there’s little a president can do about them.”

“Less than half give him positive marks on dealing with the federal budget deficit or taxes, two big upcoming issues.”

******

May 11, 8:31 a.m., and Jennifer Agiesta; “AP-GfK Poll: Bin Laden killing was justified”

“More Americans – 45 percent, up from 35 percent in March – say the country is headed in the right direction. Still, about half – 52 percent – say things are heading the wrong way, reflecting the effect of more polarizing domestic issues such as the economy, federal budget deficit and health care overhaul.”

“Despite a sluggish recovery from the Great Recession, 52 percent of Americans now approve of Obama’s stewardship of the economy, giving him his best rating on that issue since the early days of his presidency.”

“Overall, Obama’s approval rating is up to 60 percent from 53 percent in March and the 47 percent low point following last fall’s congressional elections.”

“The AP-GfK results were striking in that they found Obama with a higher approval rating than other recent polls that generally said he was in the low 50s.”

“On the other hand, the poll showed Americans are a little less worried about becoming victims of terrorism themselves. Thirty-three percent said they often or sometimes worry, down slightly from 37 percent last November and 40 percent in January 2010. Thirty-three percent said they are very or somewhat worried that they or a member of their family might become victims of a terrorist attack, about on par with 35 percent who said so two years ago.”

“But the new poll found a marked increase in public approval of Obama’s handling of the war. Sixty-five percent said they approve, compared with 55 percent in an AP-GfK survey in late March and 48 percent last November.”

“On the broader question of Obama’s handling of terrorism, 72 percent approved, compared to 61 percent in March. His gains were even more dramatic among those who said they strongly approve: 40 percent, compared to 25 percent in March.”

******

May 12, 10:00 a.m., Jim Kuhnhenn; “AP-GfK poll: Americans more upbeat about economy”

“Americans are growing more optimistic about the U.S. economy, a sentiment that is benefiting President Barack Obama despite public disenchantment with his handling of rising gasoline prices and swollen government budget deficits.”

“An Associated Press-GfK poll shows that more than 2 out of 5 people believe the U.S. economy will get better, while a third think it will stay the same and nearly a fourth think it will get worse, a rebound from last month’s more pessimistic attitude.”

“And, for the first time since the 100-day mark of his presidency, slightly more than half approve of Obama’s stewardship of the economy.”

“The results of the AP-GfK poll stood out because other surveys taken after bin Laden’s death, while showing a spike in support for the president, continued to indicate dissatisfaction by a majority for his handling of the economy.”

“Forty-five percent of those polled in the AP-GfK survey said the country was now moving in the right direction, an increase of 10 percentage points from five weeks ago.”

“About 1 in 5 thought the economy got better during the past month; an equal number thought it got worse.”

Stay tuned.

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UPDATE, May 18: The related May 16 PJM column is here (mirrored here at BizzyBlog). The May 16 BizzyBlog tease, which include’s GfK’s defensive video, is here.

From the ‘They Get the Simplest Things Wrong’ Dept.

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:58 am

From Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press, on today’s Consumer Price Index release:

Consumers paid more for gas and food in April, pushing inflation to its highest level in two and a half years. But so far this month, inflationary pressures have begun to ease.

The Consumer Price Index increased 0.4 percent in April, the Labor Department said. In the past 12 months, prices have risen 3.2 percent. That’s the biggest 12-month gain since October 2008.

Excluding volatile food and energy, prices ticked up 0.2 percent and have risen only 1.3 percent this year. That’s double the gain posted six months ago, but still below the level the Federal Reserve considers a healthy pace of inflation.

The only way to interpret the bolded sentence’s 1.3% figure is that it represents the ex-food and energy inflation that took place in January, February, March and April (i.e., “this year). That would be a problem, as it would annualize out to 3.95%.

That’s not the case, as a quick visit to today’s CPI report at the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows:

CPIpic051311

The 1.3% Rubager cites is reported is really ex-food and energy inflation during the past 12 months.

What slop.

They Write Not to Praise Romney, But (Hopefully) to Bury Him

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:50 am

RomneyNo0808-1Reviews of Mitt Romney’s speech on health care yesterday are not good. Excerpts from various sources follow (bolds are mine throughout).

Investors Business Daily:

As expected, Mitt Romney did not repudiate his health care overhaul in Massachusetts as he outlined the medical policies he wants instituted at the federal level. We have the feeling he just doesn’t get it.

(The speech’s) good points … are negated by a common thread that weaves the programs together: the individual mandate, which requires the uninsured to buy health care coverage. Whether compulsory at the state or federal level, it is not a legitimate or moral function of a government, any government, to force an ostensibly free person to buy something he or she has determined he or she doesn’t want or need.

… we are disappointed that Romney could not bring himself to walk away from his Massachusetts plan, to announce that he made a mistake. To do so, he said, “wouldn’t be honest.”

We want to be honest, too. Despite Thursday’s strong performance, many GOP voters will remain squeamish over Romney’s Massachusetts plan, a heavy anchor that he’ll be dragging around the campaign circuit.

The New York Times (“Mitt Romney in a Time Warp”) may not appreciate how savage its condemnation really is — from a sensible conservative standpoint:

… Mr. Romney tried desperately to pivot from praising his handiwork in Massachusetts to trashing the very same idea as adapted by Mr. Obama. His was an efficient and effective state policy; Mr. Obama’s was “a power grab by the federal government.”

He tried to justify this with a history lesson on federalism and state experimentation, but, in fact, he said nothing about what makes Massachusetts different from its neighbors or any other state. And why would he immediately repeal the Obama mandate if elected president? Because Mr. Obama wants a “government takeover of health care,” while all he wanted was to insure the uninsured.

That distinction makes no sense, and the disconnect undermines the foundation of Mr. Romney’s candidacy. At heart, he is still the kind of old-fashioned northeastern Republican who believes in government’s role while trying to conceal it under a thin, inauthentic coating of conservative outrage.

Allah at Hot Air (“Romney’s speech on RomneyCare: I’m not sorry“; internal links are in original):

The moment of truth has come and gone but the horrified real-time reaction in the conservative twittersphere echoes on. These nuggets from Philip Klein, Jonah Goldberg, and Mollie Hemingway will give you a taste; liberal Ezra Klein came closest to capturing the spirit of the thing while our old pal KP (Kirsten Powers) wondered whether Mitt’s ever actually met a Republican primary voter. I’m not surprised that he doubled down, though.

The Wall Street Journal (“Romney’s Daredevil Act; On health care, Mitt tries to bridge the unbridgeable”):

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote that “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” If we may judge by his health-care speech at the University of Michigan yesterday, Mitt Romney is a very smart man.

The likely Republican Presidential candidate fulfilled the White House’s fondest wishes, defending the mandate-subsidize-overregulate program he enacted as Massachusetts Governor in 2006 even as he denounced President Obama’s national reprise. He then proposed his own U.S. reform that is sensible and might do so some actual good, but which also runs against the other two plans. These are unbridgeable policy and philosophical differences, though Mr. Romney is nonetheless trying to leap over them like Evel Knievel heading for the Snake River Canyon.

But if Massachusetts is the triumph that Mr. Romney claimed yesterday, well, what’s the problem with Washington exporting the same successful model? If an individual mandate to purchase health insurance was indispensable in the Bay State, as Mr. Romney argued, why isn’t it necessary in every other state too?

The political tragedy is that Mr. Romney could have emerged as one of ObamaCare’s most potent critics had he made different choices two years ago amid one of the country’s most consequential debates in generations. He might have said that as Governor he made a good-faith effort to resolve some of health care’s long-running dysfunctions, but that it hadn’t worked out and that’s why state experiments are valuable.

He even said yesterday that he would do it all over again in Massachusetts, which means he is in for a year in which Republicans attack him on policy while Democrats defend him on policy but attack him as a hypocrite.

I don’t expect Mitt to buy a clue, do America a favor, and walk away, because he has something in common with the current Narcissist in Chief: It’s all about him.

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UPDATE: Mitt Romney’s biggest talk-radio $upporter is still running on Romney kool-aid — ”

If Romney is the nominee, and polls put him in a strong position now, he will have to answer Team Obama’s absurd charges about Massachusetts care. Today demonstrated how he would do so. And it isn’t an exchange the president would welcome in an October 2012 debate.

Utter fantasy; Romney as the nominee would be Team Obama’s dream come true.

Positivity: More than 340,000 signed up for World Youth Day

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 am

From Madrid:

May 9, 2011 / 01:40 pm (CNA/Europa Press).- Some 340,000 young people from more than 170 countries have signed up to participate in World Youth Day Madrid.

The main objective of the event, World Youth Day 2011′s executive director said, is “so young people experience Madrid as a welcoming city and that their days here be unforgettable.”

Events are scheduled for Aug. 16 – 21 and include a vigil and Mass with Pope Benedict XVI.

The head of this year’s World Youth Day, Yago de la Cierva, said the planning phase ended in January 2011. Since then, organizers have been working with the Vatican and Madrid city officials on implementing the plans. A large contingent of full and part-time volunteers were marshaled to manage logistics.

The culture and faith of Spain will be front and center the director added, emphasizing that “everything ought to be rooted in the 20 centuries of Catholic tradition in this country.”

World Youth Day will begin on Aug. 16 with an opening Mass followed by various events until Aug. 18, when Pope Benedict XVI will be welcomed at Cibeles Square.

The next day the Way of the Cross will be prayed and the weekend will be spent at the Cuatro Vientos airfield. A vigil will take place there on Saturday night and the closing Mass will be celebrated on Sunday morning.

Pope Benedict XVI will also meet with university professors, women religious, seminarians, volunteers, those with disabilities and the sick. …

Go here for the rest of the story.