Putting the Year End Polls in Perspective. How Jimmy Carter’s record makes Sense of today’s Numbers. Vital Lessons sent forward from 1977 —– Have We seen this Movie Before?

Jim Sills Jim Sills Leave a Comment


Jimmy  Carter  1977          Obama  2009

The year-end polls generally agree that President Obama’s popularity is at its lowest point. But what does that mean, really, when he’s still in his first year at the White House? Not much, by itself.

So we did some number-crunching at the Rostra Institute to learn what it means that Obama’s approvals are at 44% in today’s Rasmussen Poll.

The results are summarized in the chart you see posted with this article.
Jimmy Carter too was an “outsider”, little known outside his home state, and he promised a new style of open politics and government. The analogy of Obama and Carter is not perfect, but it is serviceable.

Here’s what the figures reveal:

(1) Jimmy Carter lost 10 points off his approval score during Year One,
falling from 66% to 56%.

(2) Mr. Obama dropped 20 points in Year One [from 64% to 44%].
So that means Obama’s losses are Double those of Carter in 1977.

Now we are getting some numbers that mean something !

Obama ends Year One trailing Carter by 12 points (56% to 44%) in voter
approval, and took a popularity hit twice that sustained by President Carter.


But let’s move on, and look at the polling impact for the two major parties.
In June 1978, George Gallup showed Democrats with a 16-point lead
in the “Generic ballot test” for congressional candidates.

In mid-December 2009, meanwhile, Scott Rasmussen has Republcans
leading by 8 points (44-36) in Congressional preference. The GOP has led
all of Rasmussen’s generic polls since June of 2009.

By contrast, from 2005 through early 2009, Rasmussen found Democratic
leads ranging from 3% to 12%


The atmospehere for Republicans is not just better now, but dramatically
improved for the 2010 contests, compared to the last 2 cycles.

The great Michael Barone (“Almanac of American Politics”) said as much in
his recent USD lecture. He told an attentive audience the 2009 New Jersey
and Virginia wins had national meaning, and these new figures re-confirm his sagacity.

Of course, this does NOT guarantee us success, or assure any Republican
Victory. But it Does mean we won’t have to fight 25-mile-an-hour headwinds,
as we did in 2006 and 2008.

In summary, the year-end polls you’ve seen for President Obama are
meaningful, not just for him but for his Party….. and also for Republicans.

While Rostra’s main concern is San Diego county, we are also influenced
by what happens on the National Scene. This article follows national
opinion trends, but that Movement is almost certain to be reflected here
as well.


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