Republicans At New Low While Obama’s Approval Rising

Polls taken when there is not an upcoming election are of limited value, but conservatives have loved to cite selective findings to claim that support for Obama and the Democratic Party are falling. Wherever they are at this point can change dramatically when we are actually having an election campaign. The reality is that support for the Republican Party has fallen to a new low while support for Barack Obama has increased since the election. Public Policy Polling noted an interesting finding:

Barack Obama’s approval rating with people who didn’t vote for him is 14%.

Barack Obama’s disapproval rating with people who voted for him is 6%.

So he’s won over twice as many people as he’s lost since he got elected. Who in the national media is going to write that story? Not bad for someone whose support is supposedly falling apart.

This is despite Obama being faced with gross distortions of what his health care reform proposals actually consist of.

Update: There are clearly limitations to this data (with some noted in the comments). It is simply a matter of interest which, like pretty much all the polls taken at this point, provides no real predictive value of how the Democratic Party or Obama will do in future elections

One key point missed in many polls is geography as they treat elections as national elections. When I’ve seen polls break results down by state, it often appears that we are just seeing more support for Republicans and opposition to Obama in the red states as opposed to changes which are likely to affect elections.

For the most part we are seeing the south and Mormon belt of the west becoming even more Republican while GOP support drops elsewhere. Still history suggests some Republican pick ups in 2010. The biggest problems the Democrats have now is 1) Republican voters at the moment have greater intensity and 2) many Democrats are in the position of defending House seats in 2010 which have traditionally been in Republican hands (and without the benefit of Obama on the ballot).

Conservative Attempts to Defend Fox and Create a False Equivalency With MSNBC

Along with many other liberal bloggers, I’ve had numerous posts regarding how Fox not only gets the facts wrong on their news shows but outright makes things up to promote their beliefs. In response to members of the Obama administration  pointing out the truth about Fox, conservatives have tried to create a false equivalency between Fox and MSNBC.

To a limited degree the comparison is accurate. The evening shows on MSNBC such as those anchored by Kieth Olbermann and Rachel Maddow should be classified as opinion shows and not objective news shows. It is worth noting that, while which facts to concentrate on are influenced by their political views, the facts presented by Olbermann and Maddow are considerably more accurate than the falsehoods frequently stated by the hosts of the Fox opinion shows. In addition, MSNBC  balances this with a show hosted by conservative Joe Scarborough. Another significant difference is that MSNBC has actual news shows on during the daytime, while the “news” shows on Fox are biased and promote the same falsehoods as on their opinion shows.

Conservatives have come up with a number of absurd arguments to counter the criticism of Fox. Some act as if it is the Obama White House who initiated the attack when it  is Fox which is responsible for this conflict. Fox has even fabricated a story that they were denied the ability to interview an Obama administration official. Conservatives who ignored real violations of civil liberties, and generally ignore everything in the Bill of Rights other than the Second Amendment, make absurd claims of violations of the First Amendment. In reality members of the Obama administration are expressing their own freedom of speech to make observations which are as obvious as that the sky is blue, and are taking no action to limit Fox’s right to express their views. Fox’s viewership has even gone up, showing they are not being harmed. Some have even compared this to Nixon’s enemies list, perhaps oblivious to the differences such as the Nixon administration’s use of tactics such as wire taps and tax audits against their perceived enemies.

With all the false information being spread by Fox, conservatives would love to be able to build a case that Olbermann and Maddow are as inaccurate in their stories as the Fox talking heads. This certainly cannot be done, but conservatives are still trying. Via Memeorandum I found this ridiculous attempt.

There are at least two major problems with the argument against Maddow. First, rather than being wrong in her facts, the same post which attacks Maddow shows that Maddow had a guest on her show which presented the facts. They might not understand why a failure such as George Bush might be mocked for being a motivational speaker, regardless of how many former presidents have done the same, but there is no justification for saying that viewers of Maddow’s show were given false information after she completed her coverage of the story.

It is also rather ridiculous that they would cite something so trivial to falsely question Rachel Maddow’s accuracy considering how Fox has been wrong in their facts on so many major issues in recent years. This includes their falsehoods on what is contained in the health reform bills, their false claims that WMD was present in Iraq at the onset of the war, and their false claims of a connection between Saddam and al Quada.

Update: Keith Olbermann’s response

Right Wing Caught Attributing Views in Fake Thesis to Obama

The conservative movement has become so intellectually and morally bankrupt that they they only way they can get followers is to invent facts and lie about the views of others. Fortunately for conservative pundits, fact checking is a very rare thing among conservatives, allowing them to  generally get away with making up whatever they wish. When they were caught yesterday they still tried to deny reality.

Steve Benen describes how, “Right-wing pundit Michael Ledeen published an item this week on Barack Obama’s “college thesis,” which Obama allegedly wrote as a student at Columbia 25 years ago.” Apparently the right wingers forgot that they already expressed outrage towards Obama’s thesis on nuclear disarmament, ignoring the fact that he was expressing views similar to those of Ronald Reagan.

The imaginary new thesis fit into their absurd claims that Obama is a socialist with fabricated lines such as:

“…the Constitution allows for many things, but what it does not allow is the most revealing. The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy.”

Rush Limbaugh jumped aboard this hoax. Alex Koppelman reports:

Limbaugh was, naturally, up in arms about this, calling the college-aged Obama a “little boy,” and saying, “he still shares those same feelings.”

Actually reading Obama’s views on the economy would make it clear that the views they attribute to Obama are radically different from Obama’s actual views, but the right wing never worries about the facts.

There were many ways to determine with even minimal fact checking that this claim was a fake. This includes following the link to the web site which Ledeen used as a source. The source information is tagged “satire.”

Joe Klein was also cited as a source. Klein wrote that “It is completely false.” After receiving an apology he commented:

Michael Ledeen now has apologized to me on his blog, claiming that he, Limbaugh and others were punked by a satire. I appreciate the apology…but I wonder about what the willingness to take this cheesy crap as gospel says about Ledeen’s–and Boss Rush’s–sensibility. Actually, on second thought, I don’t wonder all that much.

The right wing will continue to attack Obama and all other liberals based not upon their actual beliefs but based upon a set of beliefs they have invented and falsely attributed to Obama and other liberals. They know that nobody in their right mind, and certainly nobody without a very depraved set of values, would chose their views over the actual views of liberals.