George Graham

Pay No Attention to Those Pesky Polls

Sandra was worried. President Obama’s popularity seemed to be taking a nosedive. So on this balmy Florida day, with the sun in the sky and the birds in the trees, her brow was furrowed. Those pesky polls! They’ve ruined my wife’s day.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll gave the president a 46 percent approval score, down from 50 percent last month. And another poll registered an even more dramatic decline. The CBS News/New York Times poll – which gave Obama a 50 percent approval rating a month ago – indicated his job approval was now just 41 percent, with 47 percent giving him a failing grade.

Of course the pundits were all over it. They jumped to the conclusion that the president was in danger of losing in November. Yeah, the same pundits who were so confident he was on his way to re-election when they heard about his good poll results a month ago.

I’m sure polls give some comfort to politicians and I know it provides jobs for pollsters, but they really aren’t of much value in predicting election results. For one thing, the election is nearly eight months away, and a lot can – and will – happen in that time. For another, there’s no way to predict who will vote and who will stay home.

Who knows? Perhaps a good fairy will give the flu to the 33 percent of the American electorate that wants that black guy out of their White House as fast as his feet will carry him – no matter what’s happening to the country. They might be home in bed sniffling and shivering while the rest of us are out there choosing America’s leader for the next four years.

And the rest of us are more reasonable than the pundits think.

We know Barack Obama didn’t cause gas prices to go up. And we know he doesn’t want them to stay high, regardless of the rantings of people like Newt Gingrich.

Here’s the deal. Demand for gas is down and supply is up but – in contradiction of conventional wisdom – prices are high and getting higher. The reason? That free market Republicans are always raving about. It doesn’t work when a swarm of speculators with bushel baskets of cash are betting on a spike in oil prices.

And with all the turmoil in the Middle East, it doesn’t take a genius to figure the oil supply might be in danger.

Where does all that money come from, by the way? According to reports from knowledgeable sources a lot of the underworld’s ill-gotten gains are being invested in the commodities market. So by letting gamblers take over the stock exchanges, the free-market folks are helping a lot of crooks get richer at the expense of decent hard-working folks all over the world.

How’s that for a great economic philosophy?

And how’s this for foreign policy: The people who blame President Obama for high gas prices are also screaming at him to bomb Iran.  You think that’s going to lower oil prices?

Of course, the Republicans are also complaining about the slow economic recovery.

How’s that for chutzpah?

They caused the worst crash since the Great Depression and they’re yelling at President Obama for not setting things right fast enough. Where do they think he keeps his magic wand?

And – get this – they’re telling voters they can do a better job with the same policies that caused the wreck!

How dumb do they think we are?

The bottom line is that – apart from that hard-core 33 percent – most Americans know the president has done a much better job than the Repubicans did when they were in charge. We realize he has been hobbled at every turn by the worst Congress in history. And we know he is on our side, even if he makes a mistake now and then.

So no matter what the polls say, his job is secure as long as the reasonable voters go to the polls.  

They didn’t do that in sufficient numbers in 2010 and look at the mess that caused!

This time has to be different. Whatever else you do on November 6, get out and vote (or get one of those absentee ballots). And encourage all the reasonable folks you know to join you. You do know some easonable people, don’t you?

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for