Talking about polls…what has happened to Gallup?

Talking about polling…what has happened to Gallup?

The question is put by Nate Silver on his blog FiveThirtyEight after Gallup’s tracking poll is showing very different numbers than all other polls with Mitt Romney leading big.

While all the other tracking polls show a very even race, today’s Gallup figures show that Romney has increased his lead over Obama from 6 to 7 percentage points.

Under the headline “Gallup vs. the World,” Silver argues that this is not the first time that Gallup differs considerably from the others.

“Its results are deeply inconsistent with the results that other polling firms are showing in the presidential race, and the Gallup poll has a history of performing very poorly when that is the case.”

But that does not mean that Gallup should be ignored:

“You should consider it (Gallup) — but consider it in context. The context is that its most recent results differ substantially from the dozens of other state and national polls about the campaign. It’s much more likely that Gallup is wrong and everyone else is right than the other way around.”

Gallup’s numbers are included in Silver’s forecast which estimates Obama’s chances to win next month at 65.7 percent.

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Obama’s poll numbers up says Gallup

The first preliminary Gallup poll numbers are in after the two conventions, and the numbers are up for president Obama.

Obamas approval rating has jumped to 52 percent, the highest since May 2011, and he increased his 47 to 46 percent lead over Mitt Romney to 48 to 45 percent among registered voters in the election tracking.

The latest figures don’t include last night’s speech by Obama. They also don’t include today’s negative job numbers. By the middle of next week, we will be able to see if these new figures are a blimp or part of a longer, and for Obama,  positive trend.

Oh, those Danes…still the most content

Oh, those Danes…they continue to be the most satisfied with their lives in the whole world, according to the recent worldwide Gallup survey on quality of life in 146 countries. Denmark has had the top spot since 2009.

On average, Gallup asked 1,000 people in each country and divided the responses into three categories, “thriving,” “struggling,” and “suffering.”

Seventy-four percent of the Danes said they “thrived,” according to Gallup, followed by Canada and the Netherlands with 66 percent, and Sweden and Israel with 65 percent. Of the world’s largest countries, the United States landed on 12th place with 56 percent sayng that they thrived, while the numbers for Russia and China were only 22 and 18 percent, respectively.

In 87 countries, less than one quarter of the population said they were satisfied, with Cambodia in last place with 2 percent. In Europe, only 5 percent of the Bulgarians said they thrived. Numbers were also low in Italy (23 percent), Greece (16 percent), and Portugal (14 percent).

The biggest positive change since 2010 has taken place in Ghana, where those answering that they now thrived had increased by 19 percent, while the largest negative change occurred in El Salvador, minus 22 percent.

Tonight’s State of the Union sets the tone for an uphill fight

The Republican presidential candidates went at each other again last night and on Thursday they will be back for another panel discussion ahead of the Florida primary next Tuesday.

Scarcely a night without Romney, Gingrich, Santorum and Paul … so it will be nice, and very interesting, to hear President Barack Obama tonight in his third State of the Union — an important, perhaps decisive, speech that will set the tone for the November elections.

How is Obama doing so far? Not so well, according to Gallup. His job approval for his third year in office is only 44 per cent, which is lower than that of all presidents since Dwight Eisenhower, with the exception of Jimmy Carter’s 37 percent – and Carter failed to get re-elected 1980.

However, Obama’s 44 percent in 2011 equals Ronald Reagan’s in 1983, and Reagan managed to get re-elected the following year, a fact that can give Obama some encouragement.

The support for Obama has steadily declined during his three years as president, from 57 percent his first year to 47 percent his second and now 44 percent. But Gallup also notes that support for him grew during the last quarter of 2011 and that the coming quarter will be critical for Obama.

All presidents re-elected since Eisenhower had over 50 percent in job approval in their respective election year’s first quarter. The three presidents, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George HW Bush, who failed to be re-elected, all had job approval rates below 50 percent.

This raises the stakes for tonight’s State of the Union.

Gallup’s numbers are fascinating, but if you want to read something beyond the numbers about Obama’s three years as president, I suggest the conservative Obama sympathizer Andrew Sullivan’s recent article in Newsweek, “Obama’s Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics.” It is brilliant. Enjoy!