- Friday, September 29, 2023

It’s gotten so bad for President Biden that the media have started to shoot down public opinion polls that are bad for him, even when the news outlets themselves pay for, conduct, and publish the poll in question. 

That’s what happened this week when a survey jointly commissioned by The Washington Post and ABC News came back with Mr. Biden badly losing a hypothetical 2024 rematch with former President Donald Trump. It was so bitter for the Post to swallow that they didn’t reveal the fact that Mr. Trump was ahead by a 10-spot until the third paragraph, and they didn’t disclose the actual ballot numbers (52 to 42) until the 21st paragraph.

In its coverage, the Post cast aspersions at its own poll as an aberration.

They wrote that Mr. Trump’s large lead was “significantly at odds with other public polls that show the general election contest a virtual dead heat” and that the poll was “probably an outlier.”

ABC News, the Post’s co-sponsor of the poll, took it a step further and published an entire explainer titled, “How outlier polls happen – and what to do with them.”

Really. They did this to their own poll.

In this piece, the word “outlier” appeared an impressive 14 times, leaving little doubt that ABC News wanted its audience to ignore its product – this poll – completely.  

Now, it’s not unusual for political commentators to dismiss one poll or another if the numbers don’t square with other surveys taken near the same time frame. But it is strange for the sponsoring media outlets to expressly do so and in such emphatic terms.

It was enough to make you wish they’d put warning labels on many of their other attempts at journalism as well – something like, “This story was written from a leftist viewpoint” would be a good start.

The poll was also broadcast on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” with help from host George Stephanopoulos, who, come to think of it, probably should have a bias label of his own as a former senior aide to President Bill Clinton.

On the show, White House Correspondent Mary Bruce (label needed) was concerned about the issues section of the poll and noted that only 30% of Americans approve of how Mr. Biden has handled the economy.

“Look, President Biden is making the economic recovery the cornerstone of his re-election campaign,” she said, as though a “recovery” is something that’s actually happening. “Americans really aren’t buying into his positive Bidenomics message.”

The Post, meanwhile, fretted that “worries about inflation have persisted,” as though it’s the “worries” that are stubborn – the people are the problem – and not the inflation. 

But if the media are perplexed about why the president is receiving failing marks from the public, they shouldn’t be. It’s all right there in the numbers they provided in that poll. Maybe Mr. Biden isn’t behind by ten, but there’s no question that he’s on the wrong side of public opinion on issue after issue.

His overall approval rating is just 37% and, on the economy, it’s clear that voters have totally lost faith in him, with 74% saying that things are “not so good” or “poor.”

Mr. Biden’s immigration policies, which have given us an effectively wide-open border, are supported by only 23%, with 62% opposed.

On the war in Ukraine, a plurality – 41% – say the United States “is doing too much to help,” compared to 31% saying it’s the “right amount” and 18% saying it’s “too little.”

Interestingly, the news outlets did not critique the poll’s results on these serious issues facing the country, which means they believe those numbers to be accurate.

So, add that all together with what Americans can see for themselves, and a clear picture should emerge showing why Mr. Biden is stumbling politically.

People see him literally falling down from time to time, and they read reports that, in unscripted remarks recently, he told the same story twice – almost word for word – within a span of a few minutes.

They know that during televised speeches or press conferences, he frequently loses his train of thought and says things that are unintelligible.

Black voters, usually very dependable for Democrats, know that he recently butchered the name of famed rapper L.L. Cool J and then called him “boy,” which was yet another unmistakable glimpse into Mr. Biden’s racist view of the world.

And everyone can see that Mr. Biden has lied repeatedly about his knowledge of and involvement in his son’s illicit business transactions with foreign business interests.

If the media are confused about why Mr. Biden is flailing so badly, maybe someone should point them to the main culprit – he’s the guy who’s allegedly in charge at the White House.

• Tim Murtaugh is a Washington Times columnist and the Vice President for Communication Strategy at National Public Affairs, a full-service political consulting firm.

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