20 August 2005

Senators Job Approval Ratings

Polling firm SurveyUSA has a public opinion poll of Senators’ job approval ratings. There is no discernible rhyme or reason to the ratings, which is interesting itself. But polling methodology may provide at least part of the reason. The remainder of the reason can probably be explained by the fact that the average person is ignorant about government but figures you can't go wrong being negative.

The poll surveyed 600 individuals in each state. That’s not a lot, and in states where there are urban concentrations, the methodology would have to deliberately factor in the percentage of voters in urban, suburban and rural areas to give a truly representative cross section. In other words, an Ohio poll would have to make sure about 50% of survey respondents lived in metropolitan areas and 50% didn’t. The poll methodology breaks down results by demographic characteristics, but not geographic ones.

Both Ohio Senators ranked in the bottom five. It’s not a reflection of their moderate politics (a few months ago both were rated the most moderate republicans the Senate) because the top of the list is full of moderates, including Maine’s maidens, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, in first and second place.

Among the 25 most-approved Senators, 60% are Democrats.
Among the 25 least-approved, 68% are Republicans.

It’s even more pronounced at the acme and nadir:

67% of the top 15 are Democrats;
80% of the bottom 15 are Republicans.

Good numbers for Democrats, but how reliable is the polling methodology?


E. Gooding said...

SurveyUSA seems to always have some questionable results but i think this poll and a past poll listing Gov Taft's approval rating at 17% show that Ohioans are pissed off at the Republican party. Coupled with Hackett's strong showing in OH-2, I am really excited for the '06 elections and i expect the Democrats to make big strides.

WestEnder said...

Sen. Voinovich got more votes in Ohio than anybody ever, and he did it against popular and respected challenger Eric Fingerhut (currently state senator).

If the poll results are to be given credence, that means that Voinovich's approval has dropped from about 70% to 45% in the past 9 months.

The only mass media coverage Voinovich has gotten has been over Bolton, but he was excoriated by the right wing. Sadly, Republicans who don't kowtow to all Bush policies are branded as "liberals" and targeted for replacement by the far right.

Both Voinvovich and DeWine have been targeted by the right wing, as have most remaining respectable moderates in Congress (Snowe, Chaffee, Specter). DeWine was targeted for his part in the gang of 14 judicial "compromise".

So if SurveyUSA's numbers are correct, it means that many of their pollees were extremist and radical. Now the question of methodology becomes important: does their sample reflect all Ohioans?

If it does, then Ohio has more extremists than we need, and Democratic Party hopes in '06 are a pipe dream.

The Dems are a weak opposition party and need to operate on something besides hope. The fact that they have made meager gains despite the horrendous corruption in state government indicates their weakness and inability to coordinate.