Look, Barack Obama's approval ratings are not exactly secret. There are lots of places to go for them...I mostly these days just follow Gallup's daily track, which is right there on their home page, right at the top. When I want something a little more accurate for some reason, I go to the good folks at Pollster for their poll-of-poll average, which can conveniently be ordered with or without Rassmussen.
So why are so many people convinced that Obama's polling numbers -- 42% per both Gallup and Pollster today, by the way -- have been plunging? Down a tick, sure. Low enough to worry about for him as far as re-election, certainly. But he's barely below where he was last August, and perhaps 3-5 points at best below where he's been most of the year, with the brief exception of the bin Laden bump in the spring.
Perhaps it's one of my cranky days...I don't know. What set me off this time (and it's been building for a couple of weeks now, since I think Maureen Dowd took the "plunge" a while back, although I can't find it right now), was Obama fan Andrew Sullivan -- who frequently runs the Pollster numbers on his blog -- referring to events "which have taken a toll on his ratings." I just don't see it. The economy hasn't improved, unemployment stays high...and Obama is back to where he was last August, or at least close to it. It's not really Sullivan, though, because that's not all that bad; it's all those "drops" and, yes, "plunges."
I know, part of this is the insane polling convention that if you commission a poll you compare the results to the last one that you ran, even if it was months ago, and not to the current consensus. But still, it just isn't happening. What has characterized Barack Obama's approval ratings since about September 2009 has been stability with very gradual deterioration over time. Certainly not a "plunge" at any point beyond summer 2009. That summer, if I recall correctly up until mid-August, yes. Since? Nope.
Yes, it was worth noting when he slipped (in Gallup) below 40% for the first time. Yes, it's fair enough to call his ratings a problem. But there ain't no plunge here.