Bush Approval: You Can Spin It Any Way You Want
. . . an example of how two different news organizations can report very different things:
“President Bush’s approval ratings do not appear to have changed significantly, despite a number of recent speeches he’s given to shore up public support for the war in Iraq and its historic elections on Thursday.” [source: CNN]Actually, the issue here is not so much “spin” as the fact that two different news organizations got two different poll results.
“President Bush’s approval rating has surged in recent weeks, reversing what had been an extended period of decline, with Americans now expressing renewed optimism about the future of democracy in Iraq, the campaign against terrorism and the U.S. economy, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News Poll.” [source: MSNBC]
Both are probably within the margin of error, but with the Washington Post/ABC poll at the high end where Bush approval is concerned, and the CNN/USA Today Gallup poll at the low end.
So the real problem is that two different news organizations have paid a lot of money for their own poll, have a proprietary interest in their own poll, and have to pretend that their poll is the absolute truth.
The serious way to approach presidential approval is to look at all recent reputable polls, which one can do at Real Clear Politics.