Diary

Prez Polls Plummet

President Obama’s job approval numbers have fallen to a new low at 47%, according to the Gallup Poll Daily tracking update for December 4-6 issued on December 7, 2009.

 

Obama’s polls have been steadily slipping since his inauguration with slight upticks here and there including a small rise after he announced his troop ‘surge’ for Afghanistan and another after he was announced as the winner of the Nobel Prize.

 

Obama’s job approval rating is the lowest for all modern presidents at this point in office – December of their first year. According to Gallup, Eisenhower had 69%, Kennedy 77%, Nixon 59%, Carter 57%, Reagan 49%, George HW Bush 71%, Clinton 53% and George W. Bush 86%.

 

And it is important to remember the circumstances around each number. George W. Bush’s strong response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks pushed up his approval while Bill Clinton had lost much credibility by advocating for homosexuals serving openly in the military in the first months of his administration in 1993. Clinton and Reagan also both inherited struggling economies whose status helped to sour the public on the president.

 

It is also significant to note that Republicans have always have had negative press, no matter the state of the nation, like many in the media hinting, implying or giving voice to those who believed that George W. Bush somehow stole the 2000 presidential election and was not legitimate. Still that could not undermine Bush’s strong showing by December 2001.

 

Obama, on the other hand, has had an utterly supportive press that helped elect him in the first place. So at his inauguration in January 2009 Obama had public approval of 70%+ because he is allegedly the “first black president” (although he is mulatto) and because the media portrayed him as a great young hope to fix the economic woes that he had inherited. 

 

But this economy now has turned on Obama with increasing numbers of American perceiving him as floundering. Gallup found ‘slight majorities of Americans disapproving of the way Obama was handling job creation and the economy more generally.’ Falling support for Obama’s massive government spending, along with growing opposition to his health-care overhaul are seen as dragging down his overall numbers. Other factors like the 9/11 trials planned for New York City certainly are playing a role.

 

So even with a compliant media, Obama is in trouble. And solid victories for Republicans in crucial governors’ races in New Jersey and Virginia on November 3  also indicate that Republican and conservative candidates are poised to make a comeback – perhaps a significant one – in 2010. This comes just one year after Democrats were dismissing the GOP as a shrinking party. The defeat by a wide margin of incumbent Democrat governor Jon Corzine in heavily-Democrat New Jersey on November 3 after vigorous personal campaigning by Obama alarmed some Democrat strategists.

 

According to Gallup:

 

In the new Dec. 4-6 Gallup Daily results, Obama’s approval rating is 14% among Republicans, 42% among independents, and 83% among Democrats. Compared to his ratings in early November, when he averaged 53% job approval overall, his ratings are down three points among Democrats, seven points among independents, and four points among Republicans.

 

Thus far in December, Obama has averaged 50% job approval. That is similar to the December averages for Ronald Reagan (49%) and Bill Clinton (53%), who also took office when the economy was struggling. All other recent presidents elected to their first terms had approval averages of 57% or above in their first December in office.

 

Gallup concluded about Obama:

 

He has seen his approval ratings among independents and Republicans slide by at least 20 points since the beginning of his term…’

 

This means that Obama’s problems are going to translate to the overall Democrat party in the 2010 mid-term elections. This was previewed when independents swung largely to Republicans in the 2009 and Virginia races.

 

On the so-called ‘generic ballot’, the Republican party also has surged. ‘Generic’ is a ballot where pollsters ask if a voter is more likely to vote for a Republican or a Democrat next time around with no issues mentioned or candidates named. The polling firm Rasmussen Reports notes that on October 12, 2008 the generic ballot was 46/38 Democrat/Republican but that as of November 29, 2009 those numbers had flipped to 37/44, a significant shift that shows trouble for Obama and the Democrats.

 

Rasmussen noted that ‘Voters not affiliated with either party continue to heavily favor Republicans, 43% to 24%’ on the generic ballot’ and added that ‘Voters remain more confident in Republicans than in Democrats this month on virtually all of the key electoral issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports, including the economy and national security.’

 

In its own unique Approval Index, Rasmussen reported on December 7 that  only 27% of voters Strongly Approve of the way Obama is handling his job while 38% Strongly Disapprove. This is what Rasmussen calls its Approval Index of 27/38 or minus 11 points, which is flipped from January 2009 when it was 43/20 or plus 23 points. So that is a huge negative swing of 34 points in less than one  year, yet another sign of big trouble for Obama and the Democrats.

 

So even with a compliant and often sycophantic media, Obama is in bigger trouble than the Democrats will ever admit. And this is good news for Republicans just one year after their 2008 defeat.

 

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