RCP on Rasmussen: Obama Upside Down


Rasmussen officially becomes the first poll to show the President with an upside-down approval rating.  The pollster has him at 49% approve, 51% disapprove today. Rasmussen’s polls are typically spot-on in the end, but he’s been a consistent outlier on the approval rating issue.

Part of this is that Rasmussen samples likely voters, while most pollsters are sampling adults or registered voters right now.  Likely voters typically skew Republican by a few points.  On the one hand, it is difficult to screen for likely voters this early on, but on the other hand, this could be something of a preview of whether things will go when other pollsters begin imposing likely voter screens.

The other thing is that Rasmussen gives for options:  Strongly approve, strongly disapprove, somewhat approve, and somewhat disapprove.  It may well be the case that, given a simple “approve/disapprove” rubric, many people who somewhat disapprove of the job Obama is doing are unwilling to give a complete “disapprove” answer.  By adding the “somewhat” nuance, Rasmussen may be nudging voters into the “disapprove” camp.

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