Americans To The White House: It’s (Still) The Economy, Stupid

President Obama's job approval numbers are even worse when you just look at the economy.

There’s more bad news for President Obama in a new Gallup poll showing that the public has soured significantly on his job approval as it relates to the economy:

A new low of 26% of Americans approve of President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, down 11 percentage points since Gallup last measured it in mid-May and well below his previous low of 35% in November 2010.

Obama earns similarly low approval for his handling of the federal budget deficit (24%) and creating jobs (29%).

The president fares relatively better on foreign policy matters, with 53% of Americans approving of his handling of terrorism and roughly 4 in 10 approving on foreign affairs and the situation in Afghanistan. Also, 41% approve of Obama on education.

That last part isn’t entirely surprising since President’s tend to get a higher approval rating in the foreign policy area than they do on domestic matters. However, the 2012 election isn’t going to be decided on foreign policy or the war in Afghanistan, it’s going to be decided based on the state of the economy and, for Barack Obama, those numbers have been moving in the wrong direction for quite some time:

 

Not surprisingly, there’s a significant partisan breakdown on the President’s approval numbers, but even there, the bad news is still quite apparent:

Take a look at that middle column. Even when you take the foreign policy issue areas into account, there isn’t a single issues area where a majority of independents approve of the President’s handling of his job. On the economy, the President’s job approval among independents is even lower than it is among the population as a whole. A quick glance at the poll top lines (PDF) reveals that this is also true of the job approval on the budget deficit and “creating jobs”; in each case the President’s job approval among independents is lower than it is among the general population by at least several percentage points. Given the importance of independent voters in states like Florida, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and elsewhere, this is a something that could be a serious problem for the President if it continues.

Democrats seem to be basing their 2012 hopes on the idea that they’ll be able to characterize whoever the GOP nominates as so far right as to be outside the mainstream. Clearly, if they select a candidate like Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin that could easily happen. However, if the President ends up facing someone like Mitt Romney or Rick Perry, which seems far more likely at this point, it’s going to be hard for them to paint their opponent as some wild-eved extremist when they’ve got a long record of government or business experience and the American people are more concerned about the economy than whether or not the guy running for President supports the Defense of Marriage Act. I’m not sure the White House realizes that yet.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, Politicians, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    Doug, his only threat is Romney. Perry is just as nuts as Bachmann which is becoming more obvious everyday.

  2. Tano says:

    “Job approval on the economy” is just a proxy for “what do you think of the state of the economy?”

  3. OzarkHibilly says:

    To the republicans in the House: It is still the economy stupid, not the deficit. ( and for the myopic, fix the economy and half the deficit disappears.)

    And yeah Doug, I know that most of the electorate will blame BO no matter what.

  4. An Interested Party says:

    However, if the President ends up facing someone like Mitt Romney or Rick Perry, which seems far more likely at this point, it’s going to be hard for them to paint their opponent as some wild-eved extremist when they’ve got a long record of government or business experience and the American people are more concerned about the economy than whether or not the guy running for President supports the Defense of Marriage Act. I’m not sure the White House realizes that yet.

    Umm, yeah, I’m really sure that the people at the White House think that the big issue in next year’s campaign will be who does or doesn’t support the Defense of Marriage Act…your argument has a wee bit of straw stuffed into it…

  5. OzarkHibilly says:

    However, if the President ends up facing someone like Mitt Romney or Rick Perry, which seems far more likely at this point,

    Doug, Perry is a complete whacko (read his book)

    10. Social Security Is Evil: According to Perry Social Security is “by far the best example” of a program “violently tossing aside any respect for our founding principles.” (page 48)

    and that is #10… wait until you reach 9-1.

    Perry is DOA. (I hope, never over-estimate the intelligence of the American voter).

  6. Ben Wolf says:

    All Obama has to do is cut taxes by raising taxes on the rich, then cut the budget by getting a federal jobs program through Congress and reviving the economy by reducing the spending keeping it alive. He can also improve his poll numbers by cutting $1 trillion from the $50 billion foreign aid budget.

    Even as someone who is not a fan of the current President I can see he’s in an almost impossible situation, because the above scenario appears to be what the American people expect.

  7. The Colourfield says:

    Shorter Doug:

    I would rather vote for a complete whackjob like Perry or Bachmann than Obama.

  8. superdestroyer says:

    The problem for the Obama Administration is that the 70% of the Americans are split on what they want the Obama Administraiton to do. About half of them want the Obama Administraiton to tax the crap out of others and give them the money. The other half want the Obama Administration to give out of the way and allow the private sector to grow.

    There is no way that the Obama Administration can make both groups happy. If he settles of making the parasite class happy, the economy continues to collapse. If he tries to help the private sector happy, the parasite class will remain very unhappy and could become destructive (See England).

  9. mike says:

    @Ron Beasley: Perry is nuts and Bachmann is completely unqualified but the avg voter concentrate enough to look at Perry’s hair and listen to his soundbites – Bachmann will be the running mate – the far right won’t be able to get past the fact that Romney is a mormon even though he is the most qualfied. that’s american politics.

  10. john personna says:

    It’s interesting. There is some cognitive dissonance on deficit focus and the jobs problem. Most people let themselves get dragged into a “deficit as #1 problem” debate, and rejected a bit the idea that “austerity is jobs reducing” because of the liberal (Krugman) binding.

    So … we get austerity because it’s what we want, and blame Obama because it doesn’t generate a recovery?

    (P.S. – we can blame Obama for not educating on that, not being a Great Communicator on economic reality. Or, to the extent that he really supports austerity, he does own it.)

  11. john personna says:

    P.P.S. – A “double Obama,” that is even further and sharper spending reduciton, is less likely to give people the economy they really want. But maybe the Perrys and Bachmanns want people to figure that out later, not sooner.

  12. Ron Beasley says:

    There is not really anything Obama can do. This is not a recession it is a worldwide liquidity crisis. The problem with a global economy is that when one goes down everyone else follows. There is going to be a lot more pain. Obama knows he can’t do anything so his plan is to propose things and then blame the Republicans for not going along. Romney also is smart enough to know there is not really anything anyone can do so he to is playing the political blame game.
    Note: The market is down 4% today. Not because of anything going on in the US but because of Europe and the solvency of European banks.

  13. john personna says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Liquidity is the wrong word. US Markets Off 5%; 10 Year @ 1.97%

    In the face of global recession, we still have that savings glut pushing down rates.

  14. john personna says:

    The opinion piece called “Tripped up by globalisation” at The Financial Times is extremely important. If you don’t a have a subscription, google the title, and you should be able to click in without hitting the paywall.

    I’ve watched dozens of financial crises up close, and know that success means showing the public a way out that is bold, technically sound and built on social values. Transatlantic leadership is falling short on all counts. Neither the US nor Europe has even properly diagnosed the core problem, namely that both regions are being whipsawed by globalisation.

    Jobs for low-skilled workers in manufacturing, and new investments in large swaths of industry, have been lost to international competition. Employment in the US and Europe during the 2000s was held up only by housing construction stoked by low interest rates and reckless deregulation – until the construction bubble collapsed. The path to recovery now lies not in a new housing bubble, but in upgraded skills, increased exports and public investments in infrastructure and low-carbon energy. Instead, the US and Europe have veered between dead-end, consumption-oriented stimulus packages and austerity without a vision for investment.

  15. Steve Verdon says:

    So … we get austerity because it’s what we want, and blame Obama because it doesn’t generate a recovery?

    Yeah, because all American presidents claim they can change the economy. So, they’ve set up expectations they can’t meet. If Obama got up there and said, “Look, I have imprecise policy tools that may or may not work, and even if you toss me out next election the next guy has the exact same set of policy tools that may or may not work….” Then I’d be really impressed. But he wont say that, his ego wont let him.

  16. john personna says:

    @Steve Verdon:

    I”m saying it isn’t that direct. We are on (at least a mild) austerity path, and no one in Washington is talking about the pain that implies. To personalize it to Obama is to look at the wrong end of the telescope.

    It isn’t his specific ego either, when it is a game played by every elected official in federal government.

    The conversation should start with harsh economic reality, and then useful criticism can be made of political response to that reality. Judge Obama, Congress, Perry, Bachmann, and the rest by how they grapple with the real austerity-recession dynamic.