Perturbing24 November 2009
The news noted a few days ago that, according to the Gallup Organization, the approval rating for President Obama had fallen below 50%.
I've been watching the Gallup poll (along with other polls) for some time now, and had become increasingly doubtful of its reports. As the rating approached the 50% line, an apparent asymmetry developed in the perturbations, to which I refer as
skating. This skating was at its most pronounced when the rating would hit the 50% line; it might blip up, but it would not blip down.
The Gallup Organization has referred to the President's drop below the 50% line as
symbolic, but in a nation that likes its decisions made by majorities or by super-majorities, and with the President being of a party that named itself for democracy, having less than majority approval is more than merely symbolic.
The next milestone comes if-and-when the reported share of the population who disapprove of the President's performance exceed those who approve. The Gallup Organization has reported the disapproval rating being as high as 44%, and as generally climbing. But, guess what? For the last few days, even as the President's approval rating has been admitted to have dropped below 50%, the disapproval rating has been reported as plateauing, as if the loss of approval completely translated into indifference or indecision. Perhaps we are now going to see a sort of complementary asymmetry of reported perturbations for disapproval.
(The third milestone would be when the disapproval rating climbed above 50%.)