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April 15, 2011

Gallup: Obama Job Approval Drops Back To Post-Midterm Low of 41%

Read it and weep pop a schadenboner.

It could be gas prices, the budget debate, or simply the usual ups and downs of public opinion polling. But President Obama’s approval rating has dipped to a five-month low in Gallup’s daily tracking poll, reverting to post-midterm election lows.


Obama’s low approval rating is not the result of the major speech he delivered on Wednesday. Some of the polling took place before he delivered the speech. Rather, a Gallup official believes the results reflect broad public dissatisfaction with the economy.

I take two things from this:

First, Obama is more vulnerable than the professional permanent Beltway establishment understands.

That may seem obvious to many, but the conventional wisdom remains that this is his election to lose. I have usually believed that conventional wisdom -- it's just based on past re-election bids, after all, in which the incumbent usually wins -- but I am beginning to grow increasingly confident but I don't want to jinx things cautiously moving towards the idea that this election is a coinflip or maybe even slightly favors a qualified, non-threatening challenger.

Two recent presidents were denied a second term, after all. They were both denied that second term for the same reason: a sour economy and no plausible narrative about taking the country in a more favorable direction. One of those two presidents shared another quality with Obama: He was viewed as feckless, passive, reactive, indecisive, and weak regarding foreign threats.

Second, the theory advanced by both Mickey Kaus and what I like to call "Common-Sense Obviousness" is that Obama's polling probably only rose -- as little as it did -- post-election because the American people took a certain amount of satisfaction and reassurance in the fact that Obama had been checked.

That didn't mean they suddenly liked Obama. It just meant, as Kaus put it, if your spouse is driving you crazy with running up the credit card bills and one bank comes along and cuts one credit card in half, your "polling" on your spouse will probably rise a little, not because you suddenly approve of being spent into bankruptcy, but because you've seen a positive discipline imposed from the outside that might cause you to feel a little less anxiety and heartburn.

But what they didn't like about Obama before -- a lousy economy with no plausible plan to right it except to keep doing what has failed before (and even less of that, as one of his credit cards was cut in half), no plausible plan to stop pissing away our children's birthright except to "spend even more money" (or, as our diagnosably retarded Vice President alleged, yes, I'm telling you to save money we have to spend a bloody fortune), no plausible plan to reduce gas prices except, well, buy a new car, buddy!.

No plausible plan for Libya, no plausible plan for Afghanistan, no plausible plan for Iran, no plausible plan for Pokistohn.

In all of these cases, not only is there no good news and likely no lucky break on the horizon, but there is simply no plausible storyline about some mechanism whereas current action -- fruitless at the moment -- may wind up producing good results if we only give it time.

What's he doing? Nothing, basically. He's spending money, which most people think is the problem, not the solution, and even if it were the solution (as Paul Krugman is just sure it is), well, Obama really can't do that so much anymore.

Not to be cute, but I've blundered into it, so I'll go ahead with it: Not only is there no positive change on the horizon, there is no plausible hope for such either.

The public has given Obama a fair amount of time before reaching decisions. They have held off for quite a while. They've been patient -- more patient than I, a committed anti-Obama partisan, would have liked.

But they were patient nonetheless, but patient does not mean patient forever. At some point, this wait and see attitude will change to evaluate and judge, and that shift in voter mentality is unlikely to favor Obama.

He cannot credibly claim accomplishments, except for ObamaCare, which 60% of the public doesn't like and would like to see repealed.

In all objective aspects, about anything that can be quantified and measured, Obama's presidency is a failure. A miserable failure. And a failure producing more and more misery -- persistent, grinding unemployment, skyrocketing gas prices, and soon the bite of inflation -- for more people than any other miserable failure since Jimmy Carter, and quite likely before him, too.

So what will the public make, in the end, of this charming young man who gave them such good feelings and confidence in 2008? Will they stick to that narrative, created largely by an in-the-tank media and a campaign which wisely refused to discuss qualifications and accomplishments in favor of feel-good Hollywood Happing Ending Machine uplift?

They can't run that campaign again. You get to run as a feel-good Symbolic Cipher once.


The public's good feelings about Obama are abstract and superficial, whereas their bad feelings about the deficit, the crushing joblessness, the stagnant/falling real wages, the rising inflation, the zooming price of oil, the daily diminishment of America and the once-bright American Future -- the public's feelings about these things are tangible and deep.

Gallup shouldn't be scrambling to explain Obama's drop in polling.

They should be racking their brains to explain why it took two and a half years.

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posted by Ace at 04:49 PM

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