Obama White Support Declining
President Obama is losing support among white voters — including white Democrats — a new LAT poll finds.
The voters losing faith in the president are the ones he had worked hardest to attract. New surveys show steep declines in Obama’s approval ratings among whites — including Democrats and independents — who were crucial elements of the diverse coalition that helped elect the country’s first black president. Among white Democrats, Obama’s job approval rating has dropped 11 points since his 100-days mark in April, according to surveys by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. It has dropped by 9 points among white independents and whites over 50, and by 12 points among white women — all groups that will be targeted by both parties in next year’s midterm elections.
“While Obama has a lock on African Americans, his support among white voters seems to be almost in a free fall,” said veteran Republican pollster Neil Newhouse.
Strategists in both parties blame Obama’s decline on growing discontent with his policy agenda, particularly after a month of often-rowdy debate over his proposed healthcare overhaul, in which some conservatives accused him of socialism. Obama’s ratings seem likely to rise again if he wins passage of healthcare legislation this fall.
But the drop in support among whites also comes as some conservatives have stoked controversies that have the potential to further erode Obama’s standing among centrists — including some controversies that resulted from White House stumbles.
Disclosure: Newhouse is a founding partner of Public Opinion Strategies, which employs my wife as its Chief Operating Officer.
It’s virtually axiomatic that, if Obama’s support dropped — which was itself virtually inevitable given his high initial ratings and the political challenges he faced — that it would first do some among the groups that he had to work hardest to persuade. He got elected partly on an “anybody but Bush” platform and partly on a “Change!” agenda of doing away with politics as usual. Once he won, however, he was forced to govern in the usual political system.
Beyond that, because so many fiscal conservatives and libertarians were disaffected by the Bush administration and the Republican leadership in the previous Congress, a lot of regular Republican voters supported Obama. They were naturally going to be disappointed.