More Evidence That Early Polls Usually Don’t Mean Much

Dave Weigel quotes a March 1983 story in The New York Times about the upcoming 1984 election:

If the 1984 Presidential election were being held today, either former Vice President Walter F. Mondale or Senator John Glenn would defeat any of the leading Republicans, according to the Gallup Poll.

Both hold modest margins over President Reagan and comfortable leads over Vice President Bush and the Senate majority leader, Howard H. Baker Jr., the two Republicans with the most current support in their party if Mr. Reagan was not to run.

When 1,156 registered voters were asked last month whom they would prefer, Mr. Mondale led Mr. Reagan by 47 percent to 41 percent, with the rest undecided. Mr. Glenn led the President by 45 percent to 40 percent.

I think we all know how that election actually turned out.

Indeed, it’s worth noting that Barack Obama’s approval numbers today are at about the same point Reagan’s were at this point in his Presidency:

So, the next time someone points to the latest approval number from Rasmussen, or CNN, or Gallup and tells you that the President is most definitely doomed, remember this.


FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. jwest says:

    Doug’s right. Obama’s doing great.