No Actual Poll Results in First 8 Paragraphs of AP Poll Analysis

The AP's Liz "Donuts" Sidoti really hates President Obama -- or at least that's the impression she gives, because in the first eight paragraphs of her 'article' on the most recent AP-GfK poll, she doesn't mention a single number from the poll.

Before conceding that President Obama's job approval rating stands at 54% (which is essentially unchanged since July), Sidoti paints a portrait of doom and gloom for a Democratic president in distress:

Confidence in Obama slips more, poll shows

Wave of optimism that swept president into office turns more pessimistic


AP National Political Writer

updated 3:29 p.m. PT, Tues., Nov . 10, 2009

WASHINGTON - The euphoria of 2008 is over: America is in a funk.

Elected last November on a wave of optimism, President Barack Obama now finds himself governing an increasingly pessimistic country in recession while muscling through Congress a health care reform overhaul and weighing whether to commit more troops to the 8-year-old Afghanistan war.

The latest Associated Press-GfK poll shows that Americans grew slightly more dispirited on a range of matters over the past month, continuing slippage that has occurred since Obama took office as the year began.

They were more pessimistic about the direction of the country. They disapproved of Obama's handling of the economy a bit more than before. And, perhaps most striking for this novice commander in chief, more people have lost confidence in Obama on Iraq and Afghanistan over the last month.

Ambitious agenda

All that is troubling for a president trying to accomplish an ambitious agenda at home while fighting wars abroad, as well as for a Democratic Party heading into a critical election year in which it will look to stave off losses a new president typically experiences in his first midterms. A third of the Senate, all of the House and most governors' offices will be on the ballot.

The findings underscore just how quickly the political environment can change, a lesson in cautiousness for out-of-power Republicans salivating at the murky state of the electorate and buzzing with energy after booting Democrats from rule in Virginia and New Jersey governors' races last week.

It was just over a year ago that Obama won the White House in an electoral landslide and Democrats padded their congressional majorities. The country was riding high with optimism by just about all measures when Obama took office in January.

"Hope" and "change" were en vogue back then. But "change" didn't happen overnight, as the rhetoric of campaigning crashed headlong into the realities of governing. And "hope" slipped in a country that always has clung to it.

In those first eight paragraphs and 363 words, Sidoti manages to claim a new poll shows the Obama administration has "crashed," taking the coountry from "the euphoria of 2008" to a "funk."

To make this claim, she cites exactly zero numbers from the poll.

Sidoti does characterize some numbers from the poll, but there's a reason that she's characterizing them rather than citing them.

For example: in the AP poll, Obama's overall approval is 54/43, essentially unchanged from July's 55/42 rating. His numbers have dropped from the staggering numbers early in his first couple of months (67/24 in February), but that's old news. Since July, things have been steady.

Another example: despite Sidoti's claim that "the euphoria of 2008 is over: America is in a funk," the country's right-track/wrong-track numbers are better now than they were in 2008. The AP poll shows a 38/56 right-track/wrong-track number. That's down from 48/46 in May, but still better than the 2008 numbers (32/60 in December '08, 36/56 in November '08, 17/78 in October '08, and 26/70 in September '08).

It's true that nobody could argue with a straight face that Americans are happy with where things stand in the country today. But Sidoti isn't just claiming that: she's trying to say that people are more pessimistic today than they were a year ago, and she's blaming it on President Obama. In light of that thesis, the real reason she avoided citing any actual numbers in the first half of her article becomes clear: her argument didn't add up, and she knew it.


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