Take Obama. His favorability ratings have generally improved over time, in part because more and more people learned who he is. In January of 2007, 28% had a favorable rating and 47% didn't have a clue who the guy is. By May 1, 2008, he was up to 44% "favorable" and only 6% hadn't heard of him (CBS/NYT poll).
All well and good, but how about those "negatives" that political pros talk about? He's tripled those, from 10% to 30%, during the same time period.
But what I'm writing about here is something a little different. Look at these set of numbers from two different polls conducted at about the same time about Sen. Obama.
CBS/NYT 44% favorable 30% unfavorable
USAToday/Gallup 58% favorable 37% unfavorable
Why the big difference? Perhaps small issues of sampling and the like, but look at the two questions.
- Is your opinion of Barack Obama favorable, not favorable, undecided, or haven't you heard enough about Barack Obama yet to have an opinion?" CBS/NYT
- "Next, I'd like to get your overall opinion of some people in the news. As I read each name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of these people -- or if you have never heard of them. How about Barack Obama?" USAToday/Gallup