Poll: Obama Gets High Marks For Arizona Response, Sarah Palin Bombs With The Public

The first poll assessing the political impact of last week's events is out, and it has good news for President Obama, and bad news for Sarah Palin.

Another post-Arizona poll, this one from ABC News and The Washington Post assesses the political fallout from the Jan. 8th shooting in Tucson and the week of political controversy that followed:

Americans divide on the risks posed by the tone of the country’s political discourse but approve overwhelmingly of President Obama’s attempt to redirect it. Most also hold some hopes of political conciliation in the aftermath of the Tucson shootings.

Seventy-eight percent in a new ABC News-Washington Post poll approve of the way Obama has responded to the shootings, which he addressed in a speech in Tucson last week; thahttps://www.outsidethebeltway.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpt includes 71 percent of Republicans and conservatives alike. Far fewer, 30 percent overall, approve of the response by his political rival, Sarah Palin.

Here are some specific numbers on the public assessment of how Obama and others handled the aftermath of the shooting:

Barack Obama

  • 78% approve of the President’s handling of the Arizona situation, 12% disapprove

Sarah Palin

  • 30% approve of how Palin has handled the aftermath of the shootings, 46% disapprove

News Media

  • 53% approve of how the news media has handled the story, 39% disapprove

More broadly, the public is not happy with the current state of political discourse and seems to blame the GOP more than the Democrats:

The public overwhelmingly sees the country’s political discourse as negative in tone; 82 percent say so, including three in 10 who say it’s “angry.” Still there’s a division, 49-49 percent, on whether it has created a climate that could encourage political violence.

On the Tucson shootings specifically, 54 percent of Americans do not think the political discourse contributed to the incident, while 40 percent think it did. Those who do see a connection divide on whether it was a strong factor.

The survey more generally finds blame for the political tone spread across a variety of groups. Half the public says the Tea Party political movement and its supporters, as well as political commentators on both side of the ideological divide, have “crossed the line” in terms of attacking the other side.

Forty-five percent say the Republican Party and its supporters have done the same; fewer, 39 percent, say so about the Democratic Party and its supporters, reflecting the Democrats’ continued broader allegiance overall.

The poll also shows some support for increased gun control, but support for gun control now is actually lower than it was four years ago:

Fifty-two percent of Americans in this survey favor stricter gun control laws in general; 45 percent are opposed. That fairly close division is a shift from before fall 2008. In 2006 and 2007 alike, for instance, 61 percent supported stricter gun control. The decrease in support may have been associated with the impending election of a Democratic president and Congress.

The 9-point drop in support for gun control from 2007 to now is mirrored in views specifically on banning semi-automatic handguns, which automatically re-load each time the trigger is squeezed. Fifty-five percent supported banning such weapons then, compared with 48 percent now. Likewise, there has been a 7-point decline in support for banning the sale of handguns overall, from 38 percent in 2007 to 31 percent now.

It’s hard to tell what the long term political impact of the shootings will be, but it does seem clear that those predicting the end of Sarah Palin’s political career as a result of her handling of the response to the controversy that erupted after the shooting may have been on to something.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Politicians, Public Opinion Polls, Sarah Palin, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds 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.

Comments

  1. Trumwill says:

    It’s hard to tell what the long term political impact of the shootings will be, but it does seem clear that those predicting the end of Sarah Palin’s political career as a result of her handling of the response to the controversy that erupted after the shooting may have been on to something.

    Hard to say. The 30/46 divide pretty closely mirrors her existing approval ratings. I thought her whole response to this was dreadful. But I already didn’t like her. I think what we’re seeing here is everyone digging in their heels.

  2. PJ says:

    @Trumwill:
    “I think what we’re seeing here is everyone digging in their heels.”

    Yup. This might even help her, since those cheering her will see this as another example of her being a victim and hated, and that might make more of them willing to vote for her in a primary.

    I bet we will see the GOP “elitists” talking about adding super delegates after the general election, since they will be terrified that they can’t control the monster (I’m not talking about Palin, I’m talking about those that voted for her in the primaries) they have created.

  3. Maggie Mama says:

    I’m beginning to think it’s time to diagnose the odd relationship between Sarah Palin and Doug Mataconis.

    Probably wouldn’t hurt to look into the number of articles appearing each week about that sweet little Grandmother who seems to have captured the attention of all the men here at OTB.

  4. anjin-san says:

    > I’m beginning to think it’s time to diagnose the odd relationship between Sarah Palin and Doug Mataconis.

    How about diagnosing the odd relationship between Sarah Palin and the media in general? Doug is simply a member of that group.

    Paling endlessly grandstands for attention. They she whines because not all the attention is too her liking. Her followers whine along. She does not have any time to do the things a leader should do, like say, being informed about the problems our country faces and possible remedies, but she has time to mug for the camera.

    My sympathy for her is limited.

  5. wr says:

    It’s not all that hard, MM. Doug posts something about Palin. Smooth Jazz and the Palinites descend en masse to fight for her sacred honor and, apparently, a chance at her love. The non-Palinites drop by to laugh at Smoothie and the rest. Many clicks are generated. Many messages are left. Advertisers are pleased by high traffic. Blog is a lively place.

    What part of this do you not understand?

  6. Smooth Jazz says:

    “I’m beginning to think it’s time to diagnose the odd relationship between Sarah Palin and Doug Mataconis.”

    I think the guy is past the psychotic phase WRT to the former Alaska Gov, constantly looking for reinforcement for his own built in bias. When you have to hive up post after post, day after day, saying essentially the same thing time after time, you go from informing to hoping and praying. It is weird seeing this once fair and balanced blog get sucked into the day to day drumbeat of Palin bashing – on par with Palin hating blogs like Tbogg, DailyKOS, etc. This poster Doug just seems creepy with his Palin obsession, and I thinkj your “odd relationship” comment is appropo.

    The guy is so blinded with bias, he cannot see the glass half full glass half empty aspect of this poll, given the relentless ambushing she has taken in the past few days – from a poll that is typically Pro Obama and anti Palin. It is stunning that 90% wasn’t against her given the relentless attacks on her. In other words, even based on this left wing poll, 54% were either positive or neutral WRT to her response. Doug’s obviously biased perspective views that as bad; Her equally biased supporters may view that as neutral, with room for improvement.

    Meanwhile, the Gallup and Rasmussen Daily Tracking polls have Obama’s approval rating DECLINING since his speech, suggesting his speech didn’t help him at all:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_obama_job_approval-1044.html

    I wouldn’t trust any poll from Wash Post/ABC. They are pro Obama to the hilt and it wouldn’t be beyond them to tamper with their #s similar to DailyKOS/PPP to put him in the best possible light. They are always at least a few points above the Daily Tracking polls WRT to Obama approval. Remember, Wash Post & ABC live in that Wash DC/New York Liberal ecosystem where everything Obomb does is golden while everything Palin does is bad. I wouldn’t trust any poll they take on those 2 individuals.

  7. anjin-san says:

    > When you have to hive up post after post, day after day, saying essentially the same thing time after time, you go from informing to hoping and praying.

    Pretty much describes what you do, no?

  8. G.A.P.THEORY says:

    ABC and the Washington Post, enough said……

  9. G.A.P.THEORY says:

    OTP, should be the new name of this site, Operation Trash Palin……

    lol! and it kinda rhymes…..

  10. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I was going to ask who they polled. Must have been Dougs peanut gallery. Doug, can you say President Sarah Palin? You are going to have to as some point.

  11. Smooth Jazz says:

    “It’s not all that hard, MM. Doug posts something about Palin. Smooth Jazz and the Palinites descend en masse to fight for her sacred honor and, apparently, a chance at her love. The non-Palinites drop by to laugh at Smoothie and the rest. Many clicks are generated. Many messages are left. Advertisers are pleased by high traffic. Blog is a lively place. What part of this do you not understand?”

    I have to admit – you may be on to something. It does look like these posts bring out all the Pro & anti Palin forces, and thus all the fireworks. Maybe these guys are benefiting from the traffic. I’m an African American from Brooklyn, NY who is a conservative I admit but with a love of jazz music, especially smooth jazz saxophonists such as Najee, Gerald Albright and Andre Ward. I have a BS in Accounting from Syracuse Univ, and MBA from Rutgers and voted for Obama in 2008 because I was mesmerized by his aura, his promise, etc. Since then I’ve become extremely disappointed in him, the way he forced that terrible health care plan down our throats, all the spending, etc.

    I was looking for a blog that was not TOO right, not TOO left where I could get a dispassionate view of the Repub candidates, to see if there was any conservative I would support in 2012 since I no longer felt good about Obama. In that sense, I was less Pro Palin and more anti Obama. I remember this blog being a fairly well balanced source, and have been dismayed to find this Palin hatefest, day after day post after post – often basing their sources on the Northeast corridor echo chamber that are just as anti Palin as they are. It’s like an incentuous relationship: The quote all the Palin Haters and publish all the anti-Palin posts day after day, as if to constantly reinforce their own biases.

    I used to think that the “volume” and “number” of Palin posts, often saying thing and regurgitating the same anti Palin talking points shared by the Wask DC/New York Liberal vortex, was CREEPY and beyond obsessive. I mean how many posts do you have to hive up that says “Palin is finished”; 2 per day, 3 per day, 5 per week?? Now I think you may be onto something.

  12. sam says:

    @Smooth

    “Meanwhile, the Gallup and Rasmussen Daily Tracking polls have Obama’s approval rating DECLINING since his speech, suggesting his speech didn’t help him at all”

    Unless I’m reading the data at the link you provided wrong, Gallup has him up 6, and all the other polls have him up, except Rasmussen, which generally understood to have a Republican bias. The RCP average has him up 2.8. The graph at the link shows his approval rating increasing.

    How do you get his approval rate is declining in the Gallup?

  13. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Anjin, I know you lack intelligence, but come on. What was Palin grandstanding. She did not inject herself into this debate, it is was done for her by idiots like Paul Krugman and the fool who runs the Daily Kos. Mataconis has done far more than Sarah has to keep her name in headlines. Your worst fears will be realized when she debates the fool who is currently President and it becomes plain to see, even for you, she is far more qualified to hold the office Obama now occupies.

  14. Smooth Jazz says:

    “How do you get his approval rate is declining in the Gallup?”

    The Gallup Daily Tracking poll had him at 50 – 40 approval the week prior to the tragedy. Today, Gallup had him at 48 – 42, so he is DOWN slightly from last week suggesting his “speech” and all the grandstanding, campaign tee shirts, etc had zero, if not slightly negative, impact. If Doug & OTB wanted to really compare his before and after poll numbers, they would use the pre & post Gallup numbers rather that the one off, left wing Wash Post/ABC poll which ALWAYS has a pro Obama tilt.

  15. tom p says:

    Doug M… let it go… stop feeding the monster….

  16. ponce says:

    This is not good news for those of us pulling for a Palin nomination.

  17. anjin-san says:

    > that terrible health

    Explain why it is terrible. Some detail and thoughtful analysis please, not bromides. For someone with the fine education you claim, this should be simple.

    > jazz music, especially smooth jazz

    There is not really such thing as “smooth jazz”. What you are describing is pop music that incorporates elements of jazz. One of the defining elements of smooth jazz is that its artists almost invariably play it safe in search of a commercially acceptable formula. There are no risks, no radical experiments, no broken ground. It is background music. That does not mean a guy like Gerald Albright can’t play, he has talent, and there is nothing wrong with making a decent living. But it ain’t jazz.

    Want some jazz? Here you go:

    http://www.amazon.com/Upojenie-Pat-Metheny/dp/B001ECE6C6

    http://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Time-Ahmad-Jamal/dp/B002YOJEFC/ref=sr_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1295312849&sr=1-3

    http://www.amazon.com/Suspended-Night-Tomasz-Stanko/dp/B0000V765G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1295312922&sr=1-2-spell

    http://www.amazon.com/Foreign-Intrigue-Tony-Williams/dp/B000005H47/ref=sr_1_14?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1295313013&sr=1-14

    A note on Tony Williams, I had the good fortune to be acquainted with him. A beautiful person and a truly remarkable musician. Check out Wynton Marsalis’ version of Williams “Sister Cheryl” sometime. Sublime.

  18. Tano says:

    “The Gallup Daily Tracking poll had him at 50 – 40 approval the week prior to the tragedy.”

    That is totally false.On the day of the shooting, Gallup reported their tracking of the three previous days showing Obama with a 48-46 approval/disapproval (dig that, you Obama opponents are a minority of the American people). Since that day, his approvals have oscillated between 48-49, and the disapprovals between 45-42, where they are today. At no point has he had a +10 approval, as you claim, since May. His net approval today is better than it was before the shooting, although it is probably not a statistically significant difference.

    “If Doug & OTB wanted to really compare his before and after poll numbers, they would use the pre & post Gallup”

    They are freely available for download from the Gallup site. Its a better idea than just making shtuff up.

  19. Tano says:

    “I’m beginning to think it’s time to diagnose the odd relationship between Sarah Palin and Doug Mataconis.”

    I know you didn’t write this originally Smoothie, but you do realize (actually, I guess you don’t) that if you substitute the name “Smooth Jazz” for “Sarah Palin” in this sentence, you have a pretty fair characterization of what most of us here have been observing.

    We get it that you have a far more positive view of SP than does Doug. You bizarre obsession with personal attacks against Doug are getting really old. If you want to slog it out on the issues in defense of SP, then go for it, but please spare us yet another retread argument about how Doug is supposedly got some Sarah problem. Its you who have a Doug problem.

  20. An Interested Party says:

    “Doug, can you say President Sarah Palin? You are going to have to as some point.”

    Only if the morphine drip is given in a high enough dosage…

    “Your worst fears will be realized when she debates the fool who is currently President and it becomes plain to see, even for you, she is far more qualified to hold the office Obama now occupies.”

    Obviously the drip has already been turned up too high for some…

  21. floyd says:

    North Korean papers reported that Kim Jong-il regularly gets 18 “hole-in-ones” at the golf course, and they once claimed that they were withdrawing from Olympic competition since Kim Jong-il was the only person they had who was capable of taking Gold in every event and he was too busy running the country….
    Nice to have the media on your side, ain’t it! [LOL]

  22. anjin-san says:

    > What was Palin grandstanding.

    I was making a general comment, not referring to the recent controversy surrounding Palin.

    Can anyone honestly deny that Palin has worked tirelessly to turn “Palin” into a media brand? Come on, she packed her daughter off to be on “Dancing with the Stars”. She has a reality TV show. Speaking of reality, get real.

  23. mpw280 says:

    How many anti Palin stories can one site support, it is starting to look like someone has a Palin fetish. She didn’t insert herself into Arizona shooting, a liberal did that. So how is that her fault, she defends herself and she turns into the bad guy. Come on, get real. I guess the left needs a new Rove to kick around and has found one, at least they think so. Good luck, it isn’t working with the non-left, though the lefties are towing the line rather well, especially here at the new NASCAR site, all left all the time. mpw

  24. mpw280 says:

    Hey lets talk about something more serious, like Obama’s changing hair color. Just like during his senate run (changing his story depending on audience), he changes his hair color depending on which group he is talking to that day. Black hair one day, grey the next then black again after that. If he doesn’t watch it his hair will fall out and he won’t be able to change his spots anymore. mpw

  25. Steve Plunk says:

    The President spoke at a memorial service while Palin defended herself from baseless attacks. Comparing the two makes no sense.

    I’m not a Palin for president guy but I am tired of the unfair treatment she receives in the press and here at OTB. Even the occasional guest is noticing the relentless attacks by Doug and Dr. Taylor. It’s uncomfortable to many of us.

    In the mean time important things are happening so why not discuss those?

  26. Kylopod says:

    Hard to say. The 30/46 divide pretty closely mirrors her existing approval ratings.

    Close, but not equal. Pollster’s poll of polls has her favorables around 37.4%, and restricted to ABC/Post polls, 35%.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/13/fav-palin_n_725513.html

    So it appears that a small portion of her admirers weren’t impressed by her handling of the Tucson incident. But keep in mind the total: at least 76% of the country, apparently, paid attention to Palin’s response. This may include people who weren’t paying much attention to Palin before. It may not have told us anything about Palin we didn’t already know. But it showed her dealing with a very serious event, and if the unseriousness of her response didn’t change anyone’s mind about her, it probably cemented her image for many people. So I suspect it was a net negative for her.

  27. anjin-san says:

    > relentless attacks

    Ah yes, in the rightwingverse, any discussion of Palin that does not involve having one’s lips vacuum welded to her ass is “an attack”…

  28. Smooth Jazz says:

    “That is totally false.On the day of the shooting, Gallup reported their tracking of the three previous days showing Obama with a 48-46 approval/disapproval (dig that, you Obama opponents are a minority of the American people). Since that day, his approvals have oscillated between 48-49, and the disapprovals between 45-42, where they are today. At no point has he had a +10 approval, as you claim, since May. His net approval today is better than it was before the shooting, although it is probably not a statistically significant difference.”

    You can spin, parse and split hairs all you want, but my point still holds: In the week before and after the tragedy, Obama’s numbers hardly moved according to Gallup – countering the notion that his speech did him a lot of good. On 1/14, a period covering 1/11 – 1/13 before the tragedy and speech, Gallup had him at 49 – 43; Today, they have him 48 – 42, which doesn’t appear to be much of a change to me. In fact, the number of people aproving of his job as President is slightly down.

    Polls by Wash Post/ABC, CBS, DailyKOS/PPP and other left wing entities don’t count. They most likely poll As (Adults) and their samples usually include more Dems compared to the Daily Tracking polls. The more I think about Obama’s speech, the more I think that while his words were sincere, the festive atmosphere including TShirts, yelling & applause was disgraceful for a memorial service. I don’t think the speech helped him, regardless of what the New York/DC Liberal echo chamber thinks, and the Gallup daily poll indicates as mush.

  29. Smooth Jazz says:

    “How many anti Palin stories can one site support, it is starting to look like someone has a Palin fetish…especially here at the new NASCAR site, all left all the time. mpw”

    How about 2 anti-Palin stories a day? 3? 4? How about 10 a week? I’m not sure how much is enough. Notice they always link to some Palin hit piece from Politico or New York Times or an anti Palin polling entity like PPP/Daily KOS. This site used to be fairly middle of the road, but I think they got caught up in the Wash DC/New York Liberal Groupthink where everybody thinks the same and shout Kumbaya in unision daily. Just look at all the Palin Haters that post here; That tells you everything you need to know about how far left this once moderate blog has gone. So sad.

  30. Maggie Mama says:

    Tano, I won’t defend Sarah Palin. Just last night my husband turned to me and said if the GOP nominates her, we’ll lose again. I agree with him on that point wholeheartedly.

    I AM JUST SICK OF HEARING ABOUT HER! ENOUGH ALREADY. AND I’M NOT ALONE….READ SOME OF THE COMMENTS ABOVE.

    BTW I’ve said the same thing after one of Dr. JJ’s articles.

    So, Tano get real. When it comes to me, you’re clueless.

  31. Axel Edgren says:

    We didn’t get any warning about W.

    We have warnings about Palin.

    Doug should keep up the hate. Why not deride and malign those that deserve it? Doug is rejecting the model of relativism and is holding to meritocratic thinking. Keep the low down and raise the high – that is how you get something out of this species.

  32. Tano says:

    “You can spin, parse and split hairs all you want, but my point still holds:”

    Wow – a caricature of the closed mind of an ideologue. I was not “spinning, parsing or splitting hairs”. I was giving you facts – the exact set of facts that you claimed said something very different than what they do.

    I am not surprised that facts don’t change your mind. Its a disease, Smoothie. Get help.

    “Polls by Wash Post/ABC, CBS, DailyKOS/PPP and other left wing entities don’t count.”

    Of course not. Nothing counts unless it tells you what you want to hear. Not even RealClear Politics, I bet – a Republican site that does a daily update of a “poll of polls”, including all the major weekly and daily tracking polls. For the first time in many months (close to a year, I think), Obama has moved into net positive territory. Right after the speech.

    Contemplate this graph – LINK

  33. LaurenceB says:

    For those who want to skip all the preceding comments. Here’s a summary of what the Palin supporters have contributed so far:

    a) Let’s talk about Doug rather than the poll.

    b) I don’t believe the poll (media bias, blah, blah, blah).

    c) I would like us to consider other polls. And that are imaginary.

    Please carry on.

  34. anjin-san says:

    > I AM JUST SICK OF HEARING ABOUT HER! ENOUGH ALREADY. AND I’M NOT ALONE…

    I took a quick look at the foxnews.com last night. Palin was mentioned four times. That is about average. Why don’t you go whine in their direction?

    I am sure you are sick of hearing anything about Palin that is not stage managed by a groveling Shawn Hannity. Too bad.

  35. Maggie Mama says:

    anjin-san, I don’t watch/listen to Shawn Hannity so YOU obviously saw more of it than I did.

    You’re just another liberal making assumptions that are not based on any facts.

    So, anjin, get real. When it comes to me you are clueless …. but that seems to be going around these days. Guess you caught it from Dano.

  36. anjin-san says:

    maggie, I could care less what you watch. Really. You can watch anything you please. Individual choice.

    If you want to control the tone and content of discussion on a blog, go start a blog. “Maggie’s Blog”. There you go. The current attempt from the fringe right to impost soft censorship on OTB is not going to fly.

    Please respect the same right to individual choice by the people who run this blog as you would demand for yourself. You presume to have the right to tell James how to manage his business. You don’t.

  37. mantis says:

    Hey Kenny G, if you dislike what the bloggers on this site write about so much, why do you keep coming here?

  38. Tano says:

    Maggie,

    I am actually trying to understand your perspective. From what I can see, there is a rather simple dispute between you and Doug. Both of you are Republicans, or so it seems. Both of you, I imagine, would like to see a Republican win the White House in 2012. Both of you also seem to be believe that Palin would not win if she were the nominee.

    Given all that, it seems to me that what Doug is doing is quite rational. He is arguing against Palin, hoping to convince Republicans not to vote for her in the primaries. This makes perfect sense – he is raising the probability that maybe the GOP will nominate a candidate who has a chance.

    I am having some trouble understanding your point of view though. You seem also to not want Palin to end up being the nominee, but your strategy seems to be to try to silence your fellow Republicans when they criticize her. What is the point of that? Doesn’t it make sense to you that the more people hold back from challenging her, the more likely it is that she will be ever more successful?

    How does your attempts to get Doug to leave her alone fit in with your desires to see her fail to win the nomination?

  39. Maggie Mama says:

    Be nice to hear something about alternatives to Palin, wouldn’t it, Tano?

  40. Maggie Mama says:

    anjin, soft censorship? It’s my opinion that Palin stories are getting old….that she’s being given more importance than she should have. OPINION.

    Isn’t that what comments are? OPINION.

    BTW I find it amusing you feel the need to defend Doug and Dr. JJ. by imposing censorship of my OPINION.

    Yes, Dr. JJ will run his business as he wishes but part of that business includes posting my OPINION. As far as I know, he has no problem with that issue. Plus I believe he has shoulders big enough to handle the matter without your help.

    But, you are, of course, FREE TO EXPRESS YOUR OPINION! ! !

  41. anjin-san says:

    My God Maggie, can you get though a single paragraph without shouting?

    If you think the Palin stories are getting old, perhaps you could share that though in a civilized manner. It’s called being polite to your host.

    Complaints about Palin stories “getting old” might have some weight were she not a tireless publicity seeker. Perhaps you could share a post you have made on foxnews.com complaining about how the endless fawning stories they publish about Palin are getting old.

    As it is, the sudden shrill chorus being directed against OTB for carrying stories about Palin that don’t involve ass kissing does indeed smack of an attempt at soft censorship.

  42. floyd says:

    High Marx? Is that Karl or bros.?