“Limbaugh’s Favorable Rating: 19 Percent,” shouts the headline at the top of CBSNews.com tonight. A look, however, at the PDF of the full CBS News poll results, posted at 6:30 PM EDT Tuesday, pegs House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's favorable rating a point lower at 18 percent -- within the margin of error, but evidence Limbaugh is no less popular than the leader of congressional Democrats. (Friday's CBS Evening News highlighted President Obama's 62 percent approval level and a few other results about the bailouts, but didn't mention the Limbaugh or Pelosi numbers.)
CBSNews.com's Brian Montopoli had a news hook with Limbaugh since it was the first time the network asked about Limbaugh (at least in recent years), but his “CBS News Political Hotsheet” post failed to make the contrast with Pelosi, who stood at a mere 10 percent approval a month ago, as he used the Limbaugh finding to expound on the efficacy of the White House attacks on the radio talk show host:
Over the past few weeks, the White House has been casting right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh as the head of the Republican Party, and based on a new CBS News poll, it appears they may be onto something: According to the poll, Limbaugh’s favorable rating stands at just 19 percent, a full 43 points lower than President Obama’s.
[P]ositive views of Democrats in Congress have not translated into a positive opinion of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Thirty-five percent have an unfavorable view of the California Democrat, while 18 percent have a favorable view. Nearly half of all Americans haven't formed an opinion either way.
But that post is not on the CBSNews home page.
Limbaugh's unfavorable is at 40 percent, a little higher than Pelosi's 35 percent, but more know or have an opinion about Limbaugh: 41 percent “Don’t know” or have “no opinion” on Limbaugh, yet, as noted above, 47 percent offered that reply when queried to assess Pelosi.
The survey, conducted March 12-16, was weighted to count more Democrats than Republicans: 265 Republicans, 442 Democrats and 435 independents.