The news that Barack Obama is "facing the worst poll numbers of his presidency" warranted a mere 18 seconds of attention from Good Morning America on Tuesday. This scant coverage is despite the fact that ABC conducted the poll in question (along with the Washington Post).
Reporter Amy Robach briefly explained, "And President Obama is returning to Washington today, facing the worst poll numbers of his presidency. His approval rating has dropped to 41 percent, mostly because of the economy." [MP3 audio here.]
In contrast, when George W. Bush's approval rating dropped to 42 percent on March 7, 2006, GMA offered two segments. Co-host Robin Roberts trumpeted, "President Bush's job approval rating has sunk to a new career low." In another story, Roberts hyped, "We begin with the President's slumping poll numbers."
She continued, "Disenchanted Americans are giving him low marks across the board." Regarding the issue of Iraq, reporter Jessica Yellin chided, "It's one in a long list of issues on which Americans now say the President is failing to perform."
A week earlier, on February 28, 2006, all three networks hyped CBS's poll showing Bush at 34 percent. The MRC's Tim Graham noted:
CBS naturally hyped the poll on its evening and morning shows. ABC promoted it on Tuesday's Good Morning America. NBC's Today promoted it twice Tuesday in news reports and once in a Matt Lauer interview with Chris Matthews on Wednesday. (Katie Couric also mentioned it without citing CBS by name.)
Regarding the new Obama poll, the Washington Post, a partner of ABC News, provided a contrast. Unlike the network, the Post placed the survey on the front page of Tuesday's paper with a headline announcing, "Obama Approval Rating at New Low."
Writers Dan Balz and Peyton M. Craighill analyzed:
Democrats face serious obstacles as they look to the November elections, with President Obama’s approval rating at a new low and a majority of voters saying they prefer a Congress in Republican hands to check the president’s agenda, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Obama’s approval rating fell to 41 percent, down from 46 percent through the first three months of the year and the lowest of his presidency in Post-ABC News polls. Just 42 percent approve of his handling of the economy, 37 percent approve of how he is handling the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and 34 percent approve of his handling of the situation involving Ukraine and Russia.
It should be pointed out, however, that the Post poll was weighted to feature 32 percent Democrats and only 21 percent Republicans. Despite this, Obama's numbers still came out quite poorly.
A transcript of the April 29th segment is below:
AMY ROBACH: And President Obama is returning to Washington today, facing the worst poll numbers of his presidency. His approval rating has dropped to 41 percent, mostly because of the economy. Before wrapping up his Asia trip today, the President honored fallen soldiers at the American cemetery in Manila, the resting place of 17,000 World War II soldiers.