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Gallup's 57 Percent Approval Rating Outlier

As noted yesterday, Gallup's latest approval rating for Bush (57 percent) seems, well, a little on the high side and, teamed as it is with a lopsidedly Republican sample (a 9 point Republican advantage in party ID), seems distinctly lacking in credibility.

It's noteworthy that no other recent poll seems to be able to come close to Gallup's 57 percent rating. ABC News/Washington Post, for example, had Bush's approval rating at 50 percent on January 26-31--but then, that was mostly before the Iraqi elections so perhaps the Post poll couldn't capture that big post-Iraqi election surge toward Bush (Gallup's own explanation for Bush's high rating in their poll).

Newsweek, however, polled on February 3-4--after the Iraqi elections--and found only a 50 percent rating for Bush. But the Gallup poll was February 4-6 so perhaps this surge was late developing?

But, inconveniently for Gallup, Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard University were in the field February 3-6 and they also found just a 50 percent approval rating for Bush.

And here's the coup de grace: the new Fox News poll, not generally known for being unfriendly to the president and low-balling his approval rating, found his approval rating, on February 8-9, to be only 51 percent. Moreover, Fox's 51 percent rating is actually a point below their mid-January rating for Bush, while Gallup's recent 57 percent rating is six points above their mid-January rating for the president.

Well, something's happened here. But I don't believe it's among the general public. I think it's more in Gallup's polling and--as indicated at the top of this post--we have some obvious suspects.