Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Statistics: Presidential Approval Rating

In case you're wondering what the President's public approval rating is or was, I present Professor Pollkatz Current Approval Index. It's presented in statistics dork format (i.e., me) but its easy to find the current approval index in a box at the top of the chart. Today, it's 38.74%.

If you're dorky enough to care, it also shows the upper and lower limit within the 95% confidence interval. For example, on 10/20/05 the average approval rating of all the polls out there is 38.7%. It has an average margin of error of plus or minus 5.6%, so there is a 95% chance that the real approval rating could be anything between 33.14% and 44.34%, with a 5% chance that the number could be anything (I'm not going to bore you further by explaining confidence intervals).

Translating this into reality, if Bush's approval rating stays below about 44% for the next 12 months, we can confidently expect minor gains in the 2006 midterm elections. (Remember, there is no national election - only a series of gerrymandered Congressional districts and one third of the Senate, which only gives us about 30 competitive Congressional races and 8 competitive Senate races, some of which Democrats already hold and have to defend). If it stays like it is now - below 40% - Democrats can be expected to take back Congress. But that's an obscenely big if.
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