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Dep’t of Stupid Headlines: L.A. Times Edition

Today, there’s an article in the Los Angeles Times entitled:

“Obama is fast losing white voters’ support”.

A reasonable person might expect the punchline to be either that the manifest decline in Obama’s approval ratings is particularly steep among white voters, or that race-related issues are responsible for Obama’s current slump. A reasonable person would then click on the chart accompanying the article and discover…

… that they’re much smarter than the people who wrote and edited the article. Obama’s approval rating has declined by 10 percent overall since April. It’s also declined by 9 points among white independents, 9 points among while college graduates, 11 points among whites non-Democrats, 11 points among White Democrats, and 12 points among white (is there any other kind?) Republicans. In other words, Obama’s approval ratings have declined exactly as much, but no more, among white voters as it has among nonwhite voters.

So what in the hell does the decline in Obama’s approval rating has to do with race? It doesn’t — or maybe it does, but if so, this article is evidence to the contrary.

The best part of a story like this is that it spawns its own series of sequels:

“Obama is fast losing Hispanic voters’ support!”.

“Obama is fast losing Inuit-Eskimos’ support!”.

“Obama is fast losing support among Scots-Irish women named Vanessa in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania!”.

I’m not one to take some schadenfreudic pleasure in the decline of the mainstream media; the Los Angeles Times was once, and sometimes still is, a great paper. But articles like these are approximately as fresh as the latest Garfield comic strip, and have approximately as much news value.

Nate Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.