Most politicians would kill for a 61 percent approval rating, but since Mayor Bloomberg has had his approval rating as high as 72 percent, and was at 67 percent just before his recent election, this new finding by the Quinnipiac Poll has elicited shock headlines: “Bloomberg’s job approval rating falls to 61 percent,” “Mayor Bloomberg’s approval rating at lowest in more than 4 years,” etc.
Ought the Mayor worry? Why should he, when Sarah Palin is polling far worse, yet is still frequently mentioned as our possible next President?
It may be that our citizens’ faith in their governance is, like everyone’s these days, dwindling; MTA’s latest crisis and questions about police statistics can’t help. And the Mayor is the natural focus for that. But Bloomberg is a good three-and-a-half years away from his campaign for a fourth term, which we may reasonably expect unless he decides meanwhile to buy a country he can run.
In the absence of an actual impending election, poll numbers aren’t very useful, except as grist for propaganda. And that usefulness is determined by what the press and politicians want to make of it.
Observe how, after a recent poll showed Sarah Palin at a nadir of popular approval, she is still the apple of the media’s eye. “Sarah Palin as GOP nominee in 2012? Don’t laugh it off,” insists the Baltimore Sun‘s Jules Witcover this week. Why? Because her poll standing “could change.” Also, she gave a good speech at the Tea Party convention, and is comfortable on Fox News.
The L.A. Times‘ Andrew Malcolm goes even further — Palin’s numbers, he argues, are well ahead of where Obama’s were at when he was at this stage in the 2008 Presidential election. Malcolm apparently sees no difference between “largely unknown” and “largely known, and disliked.” Also, “she is not of Washington.”
From this we may determine that Bloomberg could drop another 24 points, at least, and still be considered a contender for whatever post he goes for next, so long as he knows how to work the press — and we know he does. Bloomberg at 61 (or 51, or 41) percent? Don’t count him out!
Obama, on the other hand, is finished.