Obama polling better than Nixon

Commentary on the debt limit issue is littered with citations of poll results that show, for example, respondents saying they would blame “congressional Republicans” more than “President Obama” for default or failure to reach agreement. Those citations are mostly accurate, but they miss the point. One of the rules of thumb in polling is that individuals are almost always more favorably regarded than groups. So we should expect comparisons between a well-known individual like President Obama and a group the individual members of whom are mostly not well-known would favor the individual. Such results are unremarkable—and prove very little.


Yes, you can probably think of exceptions to the rule of thumb. Richard Nixon may have been more unpopular than “congressional Democrats” in the weeks before the 37th president was forced to resign. But that’s a classic case of the exception proving the rule.

Barack ObamaBeltway ConfidentialRichard NixonUS

Just Posted

Salesforce Tower and several other buildings in downtown San Francisco can be seen through the fog; climate scientists report that The City’s beloved mascot may be on the decline. (Courtesy Engel Ching)
Is San Francisco losing its fog? Scientists fear the worst

This isn’t just an identity crisis for San Franciscans. It’s an ecological problem

The Bay Area is vying to be one of 16 communities,<ins> spread across the U.S., Canada and Mexico,</ins> to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup soccer championships. Games would be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. (Courtesy Bay Area Host Committee, World Cup 2026)
Bay Area launches bid to host World Cup games in 2026

FIFA officials pay San Francisco a visit as they tour prospective venues

San Francisco City Administrator Carmen Chu, who took office in February, is in the process of restructuring the sprawling department. (Sebastian Miño-Bucheli/Special to The Examiner)
Report knocks city administrator for inefficiency, lack of transparency

‘A culture that allows corruption to take place’

Outside Lands boasts high-quality food and drink from dozens of purveyors, and many are local.<ins> (Courtesy Outside Lands)</ins>
Outside Lands is for food lovers

85 food vendors, 40 wineries, 30 breweries make the festival nourishing to gluttonous

Most Read