For most of President Obama’s tenure in office, Gallup’s Presidential approval polls have shown the President performing at lower levels than most other pollsters. Their polls were often used by Republicans to support the narrative that the President and his policies were unpopular.
Throughout the summer of 2012 Obama’s approval numbers lingered in the mid-40s as he was locked in a dead heat with Mitt Romney. Despite overestimating Obama’s support by four points in 2008, Gallup came under fire from the left for being biased. When Gallup defied the polling consensus, some polling observers such as Mark Blumenthal complained that Gallup was missing potential Democratic voters because they were not sampling non-telephone households. In other words, Blumenthal thought Gallup’s polls were skewed towards Republicans.
The complaints about Gallup from the left reached a crescendo in August when the Department of Justice joined a former Obama staffer in filing a lawsuit against Gallup for overestimating costs on a government contract. Conservatives complained that this amounted to working over the refs. Coaches rough up the refs for one reason – it works. And sadly it appears that it worked on Gallup as well.