By Mike Lillis - 03/13/12 08:13 PM EDT
Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOvernight Finance: Obama signs Puerto Rico bill | Trump steps up attacks on trade | Dodd-Frank backers cheer 'too big to fail' decision | New pressure to fill Ex-Im board Iowa poll: Clinton up 14 on Trump, Grassley in tight race with Dem Lynch meeting with Bill Clinton creates firestorm for email case MORE on Tuesday dismissed a new poll finding that President Obama’s approval rating has plunged in recent weeks.
The Nevada Democrat said the survey — a joint effort between The New York Times and CBS News — is “flawed” and “meaningless,” suggesting that all public polls are misleading.
“The poll is flawed in so many different ways,” he added, “including the way the questions were asked.”
Released Monday, the Times/CBS survey found that 41 percent of respondents approve of the job Obama is doing — down from 50 percent in the same poll last month. Meanwhile, 47 percent of respondents said they disapprove of the president’s performance.
Reid noted that few polls during his tough 2010 reelection campaign predicted he would prevail, yet Nevada voters returned him to Washington for a fifth term.
“I don’t believe in polls in general,” Reid said, “and specifically not this one.”
But Reid hasn’t always been so dismissive of public surveys. In fact, as almost everyone in Washington has done, the majority leader has a long history of cherry-picking polls when the results favor his positions.
At the start of last year, for instance, Reid attacked the Republicans’ effort to repeal Obama’s healthcare reform law, citing polls showing the unpopularity of that proposal. Months later, during 2011’s partisan budget fights, the Democratic leader pointed to numerous surveys indicating that more than half the country rejected the Tea Party, which was forcing the Republicans’ hand.
More recently, Reid lambasted Republicans for opposing Democratic legislation to help states weather the aftermath of the recession.
“Seventy-five percent of Americans believe we should help state and local governments put teachers, police and firefighters back to work,” Reid said in October, citing a CNN poll. “I repeat: 3 out of 4 Americans — including two-thirds of Republicans — support the Democrats’ Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act.
“Republicans in Congress aren’t just out of touch with America, they’re out of touch with other Republicans.”