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Thread: How important are approval ratings?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    How important are approval ratings?

    The news (all forms) are constantly reminding the public that Bushís approval ratings are low. (Now around 37%). Most sources donít mention that Congress is even lower (now around 32%).

    Even more so, the Governor of our state has around a 25% approval rating and the state congress is around 33%...

    But does any of this matter? I think that it just show that everyone is sick of how all politicians are acting and the direction that they are taking our government.

    What are your thoughts on all the of approval ratings? Do you think that these numbers matter or are they just another piece of propaganda?
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    it's only propaganda if it's not workin' for me...

    which is exactly the point -

    it reminds me of the book out some years back called "How to Lie with Maps" - the same can be said for stats - you can morph them to mean anything you want -

    but they are good initial indicators - but only if I know the method of obtaining them, which you never have easy access to -

    I do think there is a loss of faith in government but I don't need stats to know that

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Captain Worley's avatar
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    Last time I saw, Bush was at 32% and Congress was at 22%.

    I don't think it is an indication of anything more than the fact that Americans are fed up with the two party system and the way politics are run in this country. I think the politicians would be smart to realize this and mend their ways.
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Captain Worley View post
    Last time I saw, Bush was at 32% and Congress was at 22%.

    I don't think it is an indication of anything more than the fact that Americans are fed up with the two party system and the way politics are run in this country. I think the politicians would be smart to realize this and mend their ways.
    Fox News said that they both went up recently.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  5. #5
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Theoretically, a poll should have value in that it purports to show how the majority, or at least a plurality, of voters feels about a particular issue or candidate. Since we live in a (representative) democracy, any legislator or legislation they pass can claim to be upholding this crucial democratic principle behind the will of the People.

    That said, we've all heard about how polls are created and used these days by the Karl Roves and James Carvilles of the world: they design psychologically sophisticated push polls and pull polls worded such that they encourage the respondant to provide a certain answer the poll designer desires. It's pure Madison Avenue marketing psychology adapted for politics and makes me ill when I see it happen.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, ďWhere are you from?Ē doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Lets see, if its time for a poll cycle, and I see the same damn thing from: NBC/MSNBC, CNN, Zogby, DNC, RNC, And Reuters among others, you can bet the stats are what they say they are within +/- 5%.

    For some, that is really bad news.

    I know all the conservatives don't want to admit what is happening to thier party. 33% of you have your heads burried in the sand. For some reason, you think the other 66% just don't understand. Maybe that is correct. We don't understand the irrational fear of medical care for all, we don't get the idea why we have to support a war we were suckered into, and we don't get how 1/3 or our population lacks good of sense. (I'm leaving the 1% of conspiracy nuts out of this )

    That 2/3 of us realize that we will not be able just to drope everything in Iraq and walk out the door. We realize there are more issues than war, and that there is always an "after". We get that you cannot ignore and dismiss the after war forever.

    Conservatives had better hope they are right, that the lower approval rating of congress than the president is what you are pretending it to be, people blindly fed up with business as usual. Personally, I am betting that people are not as blind as you hope. Recent polls are pointing to a complete breakdown of inroads made to minorities in the GOP. They have lost the backing of women, they have lost the center (you know, the middle swing voters that actually win elections for the GOP, the ones that are irelevent because thier views don't match the evangelicals and shouldn't count).

    Fortunately for our way of life and the rule of law, the election stats look abysmal for the GOP. 5 or 6 important GOP senators don't jump ship and retire because they want to spend more time with family. They see thier own internal polls and realize it is going to be ugly. There are about 20 to 22 GOP senators up for reelection during the next cycle and if they keep half of those spots, the GOP will feel lucky. To this date, no such democratic offices seem to be in danger of being lost in the next cycle.

    Why? internal poll data is showing a very grim picture. The same picture we are seeing in the large public polls. An internal poll does you no good if you are lying to yourself.

    So the pendulum swings back the other way. It may destroy the GOP on this round though. The GOP looks like it could split into 2 warring parties. Last week there was evangelical talk of running a 3rd party candidate, sort of a "Party of GOD". NOT a good sign for the GOP. That would mean 2/3 of the party would further isolate itself, and the big money side of the party, the remaining 1/3 would translate itself into an inefective political party.

    Here is another snapshot that will tell you about the political climate. Big business. If the Democrats start to get frequent and large donations nearly equaling or greater than the GOP, it means they know where the power is flowing to and don't want to be caught on the wrong side. Also watch the political TV ads. If fewer of them are sponsored by business lobying organizations, it means they don't want to back a dead horse that will leave hard feelings when they need to get things done.
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Approval ratings are much more important for executives than they are for legislative bodies.

    A president with a high approval rating gets his legislation through the legislative body (NCLB and Patriot Act) since the representatives have a much shorter time horizon not to mention the manner in which the executive controls the debate and the executive coat tails individuals legislators like to ride when the poll numbers are high.

    When the executive numbers are low then the chances of passing legislation important to the executive decreases (immigration bill.) Same party legislators are more likely to vote against the executive having little to fear and opposition party can more effectively blunt the PR machine most executives have.

    Keep in mind that Congress is 47% Republican and the number one reason people disapprove of Congress is their failure to end the war.

    Michigan is going through a major structural recession that no one governor can fix. Couple that with a legislature with draconian term limits keeps the body focusing on the very short term while reenforcing the lack of knowledge on the process a body with an average tenure of 4 years could possibly have.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  8. #8
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Brocktoon View post
    Approval ratings are much more important for executives than they are for legislative bodies.

    A president with a high approval rating gets his legislation through the legislative body (NCLB and Patriot Act) since the representatives have a much shorter time horizon not to mention the manner in which the executive controls the debate and the executive coat tails individuals legislators like to ride when the poll numbers are high.

    When the executive numbers are low then the chances of passing legislation important to the executive decreases (immigration bill.) Same party legislators are more likely to vote against the executive having little to fear and opposition party can more effectively blunt the PR machine most executives have.

    Keep in mind that Congress is 47% Republican and the number one reason people disapprove of Congress is their failure to end the war.

    Michigan is going through a major structural recession that no one governor can fix. Couple that with a legislature with draconian term limits keeps the body focusing on the very short term while reenforcing the lack of knowledge on the process a body with an average tenure of 4 years could possibly have.
    Off-topic:

    Congressís approval rating was higher before the 2006 election. (still less than 50% though).

    Now with more than 50% democratic congress, if they wanted to stop the war they could... but they wonít. They could vote to be defeatist and de-fund the war. That would require everyone to pick up and come home. Even now, Hillary is saying that if she were elected president, she would continue the war. Heck, if Bush is so evil, why donít they just impeach him? Because even though they have the majority, the fail to accomplish anything.

    As far as I am concerned the majority of the federal government needs a serious overhaul and I would bet that we need less than half the number of representative that we have now. With technology the way it is there is no way that we should have the problems that we have.

    Approval ratings show that everyone is sick and tired of all the political crap, regardless if it is federal, or in the State of Michigan.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    Isn't it the case that Congress' approval right is often incredibly low, mainly because people think of Congress as a monolith of inefficiency and corruption. I think the numbers vary a lot more when you ask an opinion about specific members of Congress.
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  10. #10
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Off-topic:

    Congressís approval rating was higher before the 2006 election. (still less than 50% though).

    Now with more than 50% democratic congress, if they wanted to stop the war they could... but they wonít. They could vote to be defeatist and de-fund the war. That would require everyone to pick up and come home. Even now, Hillary is saying that if she were elected president, she would continue the war. Heck, if Bush is so evil, why donít they just impeach him? Because even though they have the majority, the fail to accomplish anything.

    As far as I am concerned the majority of the federal government needs a serious overhaul and I would bet that we need less than half the number of representative that we have now. With technology the way it is there is no way that we should have the problems that we have.

    Approval ratings show that everyone is sick and tired of all the political crap, regardless if it is federal, or in the State of Michigan.
    He He, as usual, you don't seem to understand how the senate works. It is called filibuster. A filibuster is the lagitimate tool of the minority to block legislation from proceding. The use of the filibuster in the senate has a history of being amoral, in other words, used for political means and sometimes unethically by all parties.

    For all intents and purposes, there needs to be 60 votes in the senate to pass legislation. 60 votes is the number of votes required to defeat a filibuster and force a vote.

    Nice tactic though, nothing in your last post had anything to do with polling or approval ratings. nothing like "Gee, they have a good track record of being acurate in the large majority of instances where bias was removed to the greatest extent possible by well designed polls.". You just put up a question, and when it is not going your way, you throw a lame personal opinion from the Fascist News Network (FOX) into it.

    Does approval rating and polling answeres make a difference. Yes, they inform those who are using them as tools as to the current body of thought as to what is important to those polled at large. It can also highlight possible actions or solutions.

    Observing the current deadlocked political situation of 50(DEM) to 49 (GOP), and (1)independent senators, any claimed "majority" of Democrats of the GOP is thin at best. Ranting that the majority can change things at will is a logical step the GOP attempts to persuade people with little reasoning abilty to believe they have less control and influence than is the reality. Its a talking point thrown out to people in an attempt to muddy the waters.

    Now, one has to assume you went to college at some point, and had some kind of stats class or something that dealt with poll question design, methods of statistical gathering, and margin of error. The question you asked is moot if that material had been covered appropriatly.
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  11. #11
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Off-topic:

    Congressís approval rating was higher before the 2006 election. (still less than 50% though).

    Now with more than 50% democratic congress, if they wanted to stop the war they could... but they wonít. They could vote to be defeatist and de-fund the war. That would require everyone to pick up and come home. Even now, Hillary is saying that if she were elected president, she would continue the war. Heck, if Bush is so evil, why donít they just impeach him? Because even though they have the majority, the fail to accomplish anything.

    As far as I am concerned the majority of the federal government needs a serious overhaul and I would bet that we need less than half the number of representative that we have now. With technology the way it is there is no way that we should have the problems that we have.

    Approval ratings show that everyone is sick and tired of all the political crap, regardless if it is federal, or in the State of Michigan.
    If you look at the current approval rating the next question asked is do you want Republicans in charge and that number is usually in the teens.

    Defunding the war would still require a spending bill with a Presidential signature. As for being a defeatist, it was good of Nixon to be a defeatist an end the Vietnam War, that only lasted 8 years and cost 58,000 American lives. As for impeachment the Democrats realize it is for only the most serious of circumstances and not for petty trespasses or for sending thousands of Americans to their death and turning a country upside-down on a misguided agenda. Instituting Congressional oversight after a 6 lag does not show like passing legislation but considering the first act of the 110th Congress was to pass the 13 spending bills that were not passed by the 109th congress is an impressive feet as one of the first acts of the new body. Also most large legislative acts of the past 30 yearís emanate from the executive branch. Given the current approval ratings, the short coat tails of the president and his lame duck status little will be done this year or next. Even with these limitations more was been done in the 110th Congress than the 109th.

    The governor of Arizona, is a Democrat, who one re-election by the largest margin ever in the state and still holds a 56% approval rating. Michigan has endured a down turn that has not been seen by the state since it was a territory. The problem with Michigan is everyone is looking towards government thinking they can solve all the problems when in reality government cannot solve the problem alone.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    Approval ratings don't matter too much when you're in the middle of your term-limit mandated last term, like our President and our state's Governor.

    I also don't think that the overall rating of a Congress matters too much either. A constituent can think poorly of congress as a whole and still vote to re-elect their own representative, who they perceive to be the only hard worker of the bunch.
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    Let's keep on topic, folks... This has all the makings of a donkey vs. elephant thread, and that's not what it's about. - Mastiff
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