The State of Obama's Union

As we approach President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address, it is worth taking a look at where Obama stands with the public one year into The One’s presidency.

As previously discussed here, Obama began his term with higher approval ratings that any president since John F. Kennedy, and lower disapproval ratings of any president except George H. W. Bush.  But a year of broken promises, a far-left liberal agenda, and a near neurotic drive to nationalize health care system, the president finds himself in a much different place at the beginning of his second year in office.

Quinnipiac conducted a poll recently on the question of whether Obama has been a success or a failure thus far, and the results were a shocking rebuke of the Administration in general and President Obama in particular.  When viewed through the proper lens, the poll shows that America’s white-hot love affair with Obama has burned out, as such things are wont to do, and the country is looking to come back home to the security of a trusted old flame.

BusinessWeek’s editors can’t quite bring themselves to say just how bad the results are for Obama in their report on the poll.  But one finding even they can’t gloss over is that when it comes to the president, the public is experiencing a huge case of buyer’s remorse.

U.S. voters are evenly divided on whether President Barack Obama has had a successful opening year in office, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

The survey found 45 percent said Obama’s first year, which began Jan. 20, was a success. The same percentage gauged it a failure. Also, 45 percent approved of Obama’s performance in office and 45 percent disapproved. […]

Poll respondents were closely divided when asked if the nation would be better off if Republican John McCain had won the 2008 presidential election. Saying yes were 35 percent, while 37 percent said the U.S. would be worse off and 17 percent said it would be about the same. […]

Obama, a Democrat, gets higher marks as president than his predecessor, Republican George W. Bush. Asked whether Obama has been a better president than Bush, 43 percent said yes, while 30 percent rated him worse and 23 percent about the same.

Now let’s do the math that BusinessWeek is reluctant to do.

  • 52% say the country would be in better or the same shape if John McCain were elected president.
  • 53% rate Obama as worse or no better than George W. Bush.

Those results really speak for themselves.

The poll also found a 57% disapproval rating for the president’s handling of the economy – with a plurality (47%) saying he has not been spending enough time on it – and a 58% disapproval rating of Obama’s handling of health care.  No wonder this poll was not publicized widely in the mainstream press.

In the face of this public undressing, the White House plans not a radical course reversal, but rather to double down on its agenda.  “Damn the icebergs, full speed ahead!”  Sure, the president will make a “hard pivot” to job creation, and spice up his leftist message by paying lip service to spending freezes and “sacrifice.”  But he will also continue to press for his widely unpopular government takeover of health care, will propose a government takeover of the student loan industry, will likely support a second economic stimulus modeled on the first unsuccessful one, and will sit by idly while the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 expire later this year.  It will be the same agenda wrapped in more austere packaging.

It is against this backdrop that President Obama comes to the rostrum of the House for his first State of the Union.  The president himself acknowledged his troubles in an interview this week, defiantly declaring that he would rather be a good one-term president than a mediocre two-term one.  He may be on to something.  If President Obama continues along the path he is on, he won’t have to worry about giving very many State of the Union speeches.