Mission Accomplished: AP Manufactures 60% Approval Rating for Obama

It made sense that President Obama received a mild approval spike in the wake of the Osama bin Laden killing, and his current average according to Real Clear Politics stands at 51.8% approval. Yet until today most polls reflected a number in the high 40s or low 50s. So how on earth did the Associated Press come up with Obama receiving a whopping 60% approval?

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, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll taken after U.S. forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

In worrisome signs for Republicans, the president’s standing improved not just on foreign policy but also on the economy, and independent Americans — a key voting bloc in the November 2012 presidential election — caused the overall uptick in support by sliding back to Obama after fleeing for much of the past two years.

Now it would be to their advantage to think independents are flocking back to Obama, so where are they represented in the AP poll?  Ed Morrissey notes the sleight of hand.

The Dem/Rep/Ind breakdown in this poll is 46/29/4, as AP assigned most of the leaners to the parties.  That is a 17-point gap, more than twice what was seen in the 2008 actual popular vote that elected Obama.  It only gets worse when independents are assigned properly.  When taking out the leaners, the split becomes — I’m not kidding — 35/18/27.  Oh, and another 20% “don’t know.”  That’s significantly worse than the March poll, in which the proper D/R/I was 29/20/34, and far beyond their post-midterm sample of 31/28/26.  It’s pretty easy to get Obama to 60% when Republicans are undersampled by almost half.

So we’re to believe a poll that has a GOP sampling so at odds with reality. Eighteen percent? They should be laughed out of the business for foisting such a breathtakingly dishonest poll on us and disguising it as news.

Notes Jim Geraghty:

But then you get to the party ID: 46 percent identify as Democrat or leaning Democrat, 29 percent identify as Republican or leaning Republican, 4 percent identify as purely independent leaning towards neither party, and 20 percent answered, “I don’t know.”

For contrast, the AP’s immediate preceding poll was 45 percent Democrat, 33 percent Republican; the likely-voter pool in October 2010 was 43 percent Democrat, 48 percent Republican. The poll’s total sample in October 2010 split 43 percent Democrat, 40 percent Republican.

So another 20% of the respondents answer “I don’t know” and they’re included in the sample? Knowing the mthodology AP’s using here, it’s not a fantastic leap to think those who don’t know what party they belong to would fall under the Democrat column.  Geez, Obama’s approval should be even higher than 60% when your sample is possibly less than a fifth Republican.

Naturally this AP poll is being regurgitated worldwide and will likely be the top story on all the newscasts. Chances of anyone pointing out the obvious flaws are minimal.

More realistically, if you look at the Rasmussen approval index, you’ll see Obama reduced his overall negative rating by about 6 to 7 points but today is back to exactly where he was 10 days ago. In the 10 days since OBL was vanquished, Obama has milked it for all it’s worth. He claims he didn’t want to spike the football, yet there he is rhetorically dancing in the end zone at every campaign stop. He should have already been flagged 15 yeards for unsportsmanlike conduct, but his media referees are too busy playing cheerleaders instead of impartial observers.

Those 10 days have provided Obama exactly what he needs. Attention on anything else but the rest of his disastrous track record, especially where the economy’s concerned. Add to it the media intentionally skewing his poll numbers to dominate the news cycle and they’re accomplished their mission: Creating a public perception that Obama can’t be beaten in 2012.