Half the Story:

Don Surber notes, quoting a correspondent:

Today's approval numbers via Rasmussen are:

45% approval for Bush
43% approval for Pelosi

Well, that's half the numbers. Filling in the other half (which, to Surber's credit, is linked from his post), we see that Bush is at 45% job approval and 54% disapproval, while Pelosi is at 43% favorable and 39% unfavorable. So Pelosi seems ahead of Bush (+4 vs. -9) rather than behind. And the talk in the Surber post about the media's "false ... impressions," media "conventional wisdom [being] flushed down the toilet," and media "lies," seems like something of an overstatement.

The broader lesson: When you see survey results, don't look just to one number. Keep in mind that the "approve" and "disapprove" (or "yes" and "no" or whatever) likely don't add up to 100%, and that the "no answer" fraction may vary from subject to subject, as it does here. (Pelosi, understandably, isn't as well-known as Bush.) Treat each survey as yielding two numbers, and when you compare survey results, compare the pairs, at least unless the "no answer" fractions are pretty much the same in each pair.

Better yet, look at more than two numbers, if the survey gives them, for instance if it separately reports the "strongly"/"very" and "somewhat" sentiments on each side. (As it happens, in both of these surveys, those with strong feelings about the subject -- whether Bush or Pelosi -- are mostly disapproving, while those with milder feelings are mostly approving.) But look at least at the two numbers from each survey, rather than just at one.