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York: Obama is “Actually” Not So Popular, Because Some People Who Like Him Are Black

By Matthew Yglesias

"York: Obama is “Actually” Not So Popular, Because Some People Who Like Him Are Black"

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Byron York has identified an important problem in our system of measuring public opinion, just the sort of thing that inspired the noble Framers of our constitution to wisely implement the three fifths compromise:

On his 100th day in office, Barack Obama enjoys high job approval ratings, no matter what poll you consult. But if a new survey by the New York Times is accurate, the president and some of his policies are significantly less popular with white Americans than with black Americans, and his sky-high ratings among African-Americans make some of his positions appear a bit more popular overall than they actually are.

Dave Weigel observes that all Democratic politicians are always much more popular among blacks than among whites, so it’s not clear why York would spin this as a unique attribute of Obama’s. But more to the point, what is York talking about here? How does the fact that much of Obama’s support come from African-Americans mean that he’s not “actually” popular?

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