Pew has a new poll out with very bad news for the president — 67 percent say he could have done more, and he has a 40 percent approval rating with a 52 percent disapproval rating. But wait a minute. Because Pew wanted to gauge racial attitudes, they deliberately oversampled African-Americans in order to get a sufficient number of blacks to respond so that their attitudes could be credibly gauged. But though Pew claims to have ironed out its data in other categories besides racial questions using census figures, the poll numbers remain wildly skewed. Those polled identify themselves as 33 percent Democrat, 33 percent independent, and 27 percent Republican. Last November, Republicans numbered 37 percent of the electorate — which means Pew’s Republican sample is a full 33 percent smaller than it was less than a year ago. There may be fewer Republicans now than then, but not 33 percent fewer. (The poll is only of American adults, not registered voters or likely voters, which is why the independent number is so large.)
Bottom line: The data here aren’t trustworthy, though they do harmonize to some degree with the findings in the CNN-USA Today poll — with 42 percent of those surveyed saying the president did a bad or terrible job while only 28 percent saying he did a great or good job. Bush has taken a hit, and there’s no sense disputing it.