Not one, but two pieces in today's WSJ claim that Obama's not really that popular and that everyone should disregard his poll numbers that indicate he's, y'know, popular.
It's almost as if the Beltway press doesn't want Obama to score high approval ratings. After years of predicting Bush's ratings rebound was just around the corner (no, really), the press, less than two months into Obama's term, seems anxious to note that the new president's bound to become less popular.
In his Journal column today, ("Risks Lurk in Obama's Poll Ratings") Gerald Seib tries to explain why Obama's very strong poll numbers aren't that great, while stressing what could go wrong for the administration and what could go right for the GOP.
Question: What's the point of this exercise? Could Obama's approval ratings go down? Yes. Could they go up? Yes. So why the emphasis on the negative? In March of 2001, I don't remember pundits rushing to warn the American people that new-president Bush wasn't really as popular as his polling numbers indicated. So why the rush with Obama?
What's striking is how Seib's yeah-but angle runs completely counter to the how the Journal itself reported its latest Obama polling results last week [emphasis added]:
President Barack Obama enjoys widespread backing from a frightened American public for his ambitious, front-loaded agenda, a new poll indicates. He is more popular than ever, Americans are hopeful about his leadership, and opposition Republicans are getting drubbed in public opinion, the new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll suggests.
Our favorite line from Seib's column:
All told, the findings suggest the Obama forces hardly have reason to panic.
According to the Journal's own polling data, Obama is "more popular than ever," but Seib reassures the White House there's no reason to panic.
Can you say "disconnect"?
Meanwhile, Douglas Schoen and the GOP's favorite pollster Scott Rasmussen try even harder on the Journal's op-ed page to knock down Obama's approval ratings. The two seem almost oddly offended that anybody would suggest Obama is popular or admired right now.
And the duo didn't help their cause by ending the column this way:
We face the possibility of substantial gridlock along with an absolute absence of public confidence that could come to mirror the lack of confidence in the American economy that the Dow and the S&P are currently showing.
Last time I checked, the Dow was up nearly 600 points in the last week.
UPDATE: Andy McCarthy flashes that fact-free analysis that makes NRO's The Corner such a consistently comical read. According to McCarthy, Obama's now "cratering."
For McCarthy's benefit, I'll simply repeat what last week's WSJ/NBC poll found:
[Obama] is more popular than ever, Americans are hopeful about his leadership, and opposition Republicans are getting drubbed in public opinion.
Or this polling write-up last week from MSNBC.com:
Obama's favorability rating is at an all-time high. Two-thirds feel hopeful about his leadership and six in 10 approve of the job he's doing in the White House.
I'm guessing Republicans wish that just once during his final four years in office, Bush could have "cratered" the way Obama is today.