How Low Will He Go? How Low Will He Go?

Dan Balz and Jon Cohen at WaPo:

Public confidence in President Obama has hit a new low, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. Four months before midterm elections that will define the second half of his term, nearly six in 10 voters say they lack faith in the president to make the right decisions for the country, and a clear majority once again disapproves of how he is dealing with the economy.

Regard for Obama is still higher than it is for members of Congress, but the gap has narrowed. About seven in 10 registered voters say they lack confidence in Democratic lawmakers and a similar proportion say so of Republican lawmakers.

Overall, more than a third of voters polled — 36 percent — say they have no confidence or only some confidence in the president, congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans. Among independents, this disillusionment is higher still. About two-thirds of all voters say they are dissatisfied with or angry about the way the federal government is working.

CBS News:

Economists have declared the economic recession over largely over, but most Americans don’t share their optimism, and they are increasingly blaming President Obama for their money woes.

Mr. Obama’s approval rating on the economy has tumbled five percentage points from last month, according to a new CBS News poll, with just 40 percent of those polled expressing full confidence in his actions.

More than half of those questioned (54 percent) said they disapproved of Mr. Obama’s handling of the economy. Last month, 45 percent approved. The drop in approval has been seen mostly among independents, just 35 percent of whom now say they approve.

Jennifer Rubin at Commentary:

In short, Obama has lost the confidence of the voters on the issues that matter most. (”Just 43 percent of all Americans now say they approve of the job Obama is doing on the economy, while 54 percent disapprove.”) They will take it out on those with a “D” next to their names in November.

DiA at The Economist:

Things look bad for the Democrats, but I’m not sure I agree with Jennifer Rubin’s oversimplified assessment that the poll “has nothing but bad, very bad, news for Obama.” Buried deep in the Post‘s report is the surprising news that Mr Obama’s overall job-approval rating stands at 50%. Granted, “those who strongly disapprove now significantly outnumber those who strongly approve”, according to the paper. But with the unemployment rate at 9.5%, I’d expect much worse. Mr Obama’s rating puts him in a similar position to Bill Clinton in 1994, and ahead of where Ronald Reagan was in 1982, when he too struggled with a severe recession. Mr Clinton’s Democrats lost both the House and the Senate, and Mr Reagan’s Republicans lost a bunch of seats in the House, but both went on to easily win re-election two years later. So, bad news for the president’s party, but not all bad for the president himself. The worse news for Mr Obama is that voters seem to be prioritising deficit reduction over further stimulus spending, which will make it hard for the president to do anything about that sticky unemployment rate.

John McCormack at The Weekly Standard:

One bright spot for President Obama in an otherwise dreary Washington Post/ABC News poll:

On the issues tested in the poll, Obama’s worst ratings come on his handling of the federal budget deficit, where 56 percent disapprove and 40 percent approve. He scores somewhat better on health-care reform (45 percent approve) and regulation of the financial industry (44 percent). His best marks come on his duties as commander in chief, with 55 percent approving.

Voters also disapproved of Obama’s job performance on the one other issue tested by the Post: 54 percent disapprove and 43 percent approve of how he’s handling the economy.

So Obama’s head was above water on just one of the five issues tested by the Post: his performance as commander in chief. Yet his overall approval rating is at 50 percent, which suggests that perhaps the president’s determination to prosecute the war in Afghanistan is propping up his overall job performance rating.

Jonathan Chait at TNR:

At the same time, the poll also shows that the public clearly favors the Democrats over the Republicans. The Post story about the poll leads with the fact that only 43% of the public has confidence in President Obama to make the right decisions for the country’s future. That’s low. But only 26% have confidence in Republicans in Congress to make the right decisions, which is far lower than Obama, and even lower than Congressional Democrats, in whom 32% have confidence. That’s not an anomaly. Asked which party will do a better job of handling the economy, 42% say the Democrats and 34% say the GOP.

So, in sum, there’s a crucial swing vote bloc that prefers the policies of the Democrats over the Republicans but plans to vote for the Republicans anyway.

Why would anybody do that? Delving into the psychology of voters is tricky. But clearly, it vindicates the sense that voters hold the governing party responsible for the state of the country, which mainly means the state of the economy. Voters in the middle are not going to compare the policies of the two parties. They’re just going to vote yay or nay on how things appear to be going. That makes more sense when you consider things from the perspective of voters who don’t follow politics very closely.

Tom Maguire:

A new WaPo/ABC News poll shows Obama is still taking on water as he continues his Titantic fail.  Two bright spots for Dems – although Dems are moving down, Republicans are not really moving up.  And the poll didn’t ask about immigration, thereby sparing Obama more mortification:

Confidence in Obama reaches new low, Washington Post-ABC News poll finds

By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 13, 2010; A01

Public confidence in President Obama has hit a new low, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. Four months before midterm elections that will define the second half of his term, nearly six in 10 voters say they lack faith in the president to make the right decisions for the country, and a clear majority once again disapproves of how he is dealing with the economy.

As a aside, I am sort of missing the fawning coverage of Obama’s oh-so-sweet date night in Manhattan with Michelle.  I wonder if we will be seeing any more date nights like that before the election

Derek Thompson at The Atlantic:

Finally, this analysis requires a big asterisk. Democrats are almost certainly doomed to fall by the dozens in the House this November. It’s not the candidates, it’s the conditions: plus-nine percent unemployment; slow business investment; continuing weakness in the housing sector. (As the graphs below demonstrate, income growth is a particularly accurate indicator of losses.)

History will debate and determine whether the Obama/Bernanke regime wisely handled the recession. In the nearer term, the voters will make that judgment themselves, and there isn’t much evidence from July 2010 to suggest that the recovery, or the Democrats’ fortunes, are ready to pick up any time soon.

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