New Polls Bring More Bad News For Obama, Democrats

The President likely has some very bad poll numbers on his mind this morning.

There are yet more indications this morning of bad news for President Obama and the Democrats in Congress.

First a new ABC News/Washington Post poll reports that overall confidence in the President’s ability to govern has declined significantly:

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.

Such broad negative sentiments have spurred a potent anti-incumbent mood. Just 26 percent of registered voters say they are inclined to support their representative in the House this fall; 62 percent are inclined to look for someone new.

Democrats nationally remain on the defensive as they seek to retain both houses of Congress this fall. Registered voters are closely divided on the question of whether they will back Republicans or Democrats in House races. Among those who say they are sure to cast ballots in November, 49 percent side with the GOP and 45 percent with Democrats.

Overall, a slim majority of all voters say they would prefer Republican control of Congress so that the legislative branch would act as a check on the president’s policies. Those most likely to vote in the midterms prefer the GOP over continued Democratic rule by a sizable margin of 56 percent to 41 percent.

Economic worries continue to frame the congressional campaigns. Almost all Americans rate the economy negatively, although compared with the depths of the recession in early 2009, far fewer now describe economic conditions as “poor.” Only about a quarter of all Americans think the economy is improving.

Recent economic developments — a declining stock market, problems in the housing industry and an unemployment report showing only tepid job growth in the private sector — may have bruised the president’s ratings.

Just 43 percent of all Americans now say they approve of the job Obama is doing on the economy, while 54 percent disapprove. Both are the worst, marginally, of his presidency. Even a third of Democrats give him negative marks here. And overall, intensity runs clearly against the president on the issue, with twice as many people rating him strongly negative as strongly positive.

Obama’s overall approval rating in the polls is 50%, which is about where Bill Clinton’s were in the summer of 1994.

Meanwhile, a new CBS poll shows that the President getting bad grades on issue number one — the economy:

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.

Since there’s unlikely to be an economic turnaround between now and the election, all of this is very bad news for Obama and the Democrats.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Campaign 2010, 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 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    What’s with that crazy sidebar?

    http://media3.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/graphic/2010/07/12/GR2010071205729.jpg

    Is that really saying lower confidence in congressional Republicans?

  2. grampagravy says:

    I’m beginning to think that all these premature GOP victory laps are about trying to create a self-fulfilling prophesy.
    Who has blocked unemployment benefits to millions? GOP
    Who has apologized to BP? GOP
    Who has said keep the Bush tax cuts in spite of the deficit? GOP
    Who has told the Latinos to get the hell out? GOP
    Sure, a lot of Independents and Progressives will have to face the fact that the office of President doesn’t come with a magic wand, but November is going to be about the lesser of two evils. My evil-meter (which is consistently more accurate than polls) says that the party of no should keep the cork in the champagne bottles til the fat lady sings.

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    Obama’s overall approval rating in the polls is 50%, which is about where Bill Clinton’s were in the summer of 1994.

    It’s also about where Reagan’s was in the summer of 1982.

    Both Reagan’s and Clinton’s popularity eventually improved. The three circumstances (Reagan, Clinton, Obama) are quite different.

    Reagan’s dip in popularity, like Obama’s, came during a major recession. When he came into office in 1981, Reagan had room both to cut taxes and increase spending and he did both. Talk about your Keynesian stimulus! He set the stage for the situation we’re in now in which there’s not a great deal more room to cut federal income taxes without great societal disruption.

    However, the economy did start to improve after the recession of the early 1980’s and Reagan’s popularity right along with it.

    In 1994 Clinton hadn’t accomplished much. Name an important Clinton domestic policy achievement other than “Don’t ask don’t tell” between 1993 and 1994. I dare you . He’d aggravated quite a few people with that achievement and with the missed opportunity for serious healthcare reform. But the dot com boom was just on the horizon and there’s nothing like a boom to boost a president’s popularity.

    President Obama has aggravated some people, disappointed others, and I sincerely doubt that he has an economic boom to look forward to in 2011 and 2012. His numbers are likely to go lower before they improve.

  4. Dantheman says:

    “Name an important Clinton domestic policy achievement other than “Don’t ask don’t tell” between 1993 and 1994.”

    1993 tax deal (the largest contribution to the balanced budgets later in the decade and passed with no Republican votes).
    And if you disagree about that being an achievement, the Family and Medical Leave Act.

    What do I win?

    “President Obama has aggravated some people, disappointed others, and I sincerely doubt that he has an economic boom to look forward to in 2011 and 2012.”

    I’ll disagree with the last phrase. I think economic growth in 2011 and 2012 will be strongly positive and Obama will have an easy re-election.

  5. Tano says:

    “Obama’s overall approval rating in the polls is 50%, which is about where Bill Clinton’s were in the summer of 1994. ”

    FWIW – Actually, per Gallup, Clinton started and ended the summer of ’94 at 44%, while dipping down to 39% in the middle of summer.

    “It’s also about where Reagan’s was in the summer of 1982.”

    Actually, Reagan’s approval, per Gallup, reached 42% in June ’82, and pretty much stayed there through the Nov. elections, at which point it dipped down to 35% before starting to rebound.

    But I do agree with the larger point. There is no good reason to expect the dynamics of one president’s approval to be similar to anothers.

  6. Tano says:

    “ABC News/Washington Post poll reports that overall confidence in the President’s ability to govern has declined significantly:”

    Once again we see the meta-narrative at play. The only acceptable reportage on polling trends is to highlight polls that show Obama badly, and to only report those questions that harbor bad news.

    The Post did at least give a link to the actual poll questions. A two-minute perusal of the results shows that they could very easily have come up with any number of alternative headlines, and general themes for their story.

    And of course, independent bloggers could easily spend the two minutes and find plenty of evidence for an alternative summary statement of the results.

    For example:

    “Obama Maintains Net Positive Approval Numbers Despite Long List of National Woes’

    “Obama Most Trusted to Make Right Decisions for Nation – Republicans Least Trusted”

    “Democrats with 8 point advantage over GOP on Trust to Handle Economy”

    “Parties Equally Enthusiastic About Voting in Upcoming Election”

    :Supporting Health Care More of a Positive for Candidates than being aligned with Tea Party”

    All of these alternative headlines are directly supported by data in this poll. Of course, using any one of them as the primary summary of the report would be equally misleading as the chosen headline.

    Is it so hard to accurately report that the poll is filled with mixed signals for both parties, and then to try to parse it out, even if there is no magic meme that could explain it all?

    I guess it so much easier to just surf along on the meta-narrative wave.

  7. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Grampagravy: Democrats blocked unemployment benefits being extended by refusing to fund it. They hold hundreds of billions in TARP and porkulous money and will not fund it wanting to add to the deficit. Republicans want to observe the law (Pay-Go). The federal government and particularly the executive branch does not have the authority to extort money from corportations without due process. Ever hear of due process? I guess you would be OK if the government came and took what was yours without due process huh? You want to cut the deficit? Stop spending. Tax cuts have historically have increased receipts as far as taxes go. Get that part? Historically. The last lie you told hardly deserves response, however show where Republicans have states that latinos should leave America. You sir are a liar. About 70% of Americans think we should secure our borders to protect ourselves from these invaders from the south. I gues there is some part of ILLEGAL you do not understand. But then truth has never been the strong suit of liberals. Obama lied his way into office and continues to blame Bush for mistakes Obama is making. I don’t know about you, but I was far better off before the Democrats took contol of congress. The things Obama blames Bush for were actually the product of having a democrat controlled congress. Just like the good attributed to Clinton was the result of having a Republican controlled congress.

  8. Brummagem Joe says:

    These polls are basically bs to enable the media to perpetuate the horserace illusion and provide raw material for bloggers to argue about. It’s a waste of time guys, trust me.

  9. Brummagem Joe says:

    Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    “Tax cuts have historically have increased receipts as far as taxes go. Get that part?”

    Actually they most assuredly haven’t and in the case of both Reagan and Bush Jr created huge deficits which took years to clean up. In the case of Reagan it was so bad he had to start increasing taxes even before he left office, Bush Sr then had to renege on his read my lips promise and Clinton had to pass further tax increases in the early 90’s. Where do you get the idea that any of these tax cut programs have ever paid for themselves. Even conservative economists aren’t making that claim any longer.

  10. grampagravy says:

    Zelsdork,
    Your condemnation, name calling, and inaccurate rant validates my comment.
    Thank you sir.

  11. Brummagem Joe says:

    Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    “Tax cuts have historically have increased receipts as far as taxes go. Get that part?”

    For info, particularly note the comment from the chairman of Bush’s board of economic advisors specifically rebutting the claim that tax cuts would pay for themselves.

    http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=165

  12. sam says:

    Hey Doug, have you seen this over at Ezra Klein’s place?

    A chart is worth a thousand words

  13. Brummagem Joe says:

    sam says:
    Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 07:46
    “Hey Doug, have you seen this over at Ezra Klein’s place?”

    I really don’t place any credence on these polls in the middle of summer but the Klein numbers highlight voter ambivalence despite the Republican euphoria. Perhaps they should remeber Charles II’s admonition to his brother James who had warned him of the dangers of assassination “Jamie, they’ll never kill me to make you king.”