A Word About Presidential Polling

This column will generally refrain from hyping any poll about health care or the president's approval ratings until next week, after the magnitude of this weekend's events have had time to settle in. But when we do, we will be paying attention to something other than the magic approval number. 

Gallup today has the gap between those who approve of Obama's job performance and those who disapprove at +9 -- his best in a while. The gap is important, because it reflects intensity as much as it does support. We will also be paying attention to the best way to measure base enthusiasm: the percentage of highly motivated voters in each party who say they will vote in November.  Likely voter models and the generic ballot question will be more important in July than they are now. Right now, the cartography of the president's approval rating will drive the composition of the electorate. 

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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