Obama’s Approval Numbers Back In The Basement
The President's winter polling bounce is gone, and he's looking vulnerable again.
After experiencing a bounce in his job approval numbers in January after the lame duck session of Congress and the shootings in Tucson, Arizona, President Obama finds himself losing public support once again:
President Barack Obama’s approval rating and prospects for reelection have plunged to all-time lows in a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.
Half of the registered voters surveyed for the poll think that the president does not deserve a second term in office, while 41 percent say he does. In another Quinnipiac poll released just four weeks ago, 45 percent said the president did not deserve reelection, while 47 percent said he did.
The decline in support for a second Obama term comes as his approval rating has dropped 4 percentage points since early March, landing at 42 percent – a record low – in the poll released Wednesday. His disapproval rating has risen from 46 percent to 48 percent.
The downward trend isn’t limited to just one poll, as Obama finds himself down across the board:
Perhaps of more concern to the White House, though, is a new Gallup poll that shows increasing public doubt about the President’s ability as a leader:
PRINCETON, NJ — Americans have grown increasingly less likely to view President Obama as a strong and decisive leader since he took office. Roughly half now believe this aptly describes, him compared with 60% a year ago and 73% in April 2009.
These results are based on a March 25-27 Gallup poll, conducted just before Obama’s widely covered speech on U.S. military action in Libya on Monday night.
The decline in Obama’s leadership rating stands in contrast to the stability in the trend for two other personal dimensions. Fifty-seven percent of Americans believe the president understand the problems Americans face in their daily lives, essentially unchanged from 56% in March 2010. And 51% of respondents believe Obama shares their values, similar to 48% last year. Both ratings are down from early 2009.
As John Podhoretz notes, this last number is particularly surprising given the fact that it comes at a time when the President is sending American forces into military conflict, an act which, even if one disagrees with the particular decision, tends to at least give the impression that he is a strong and decisive leader. Of course, any “rally round the flag” bump that Obama would normally expect in these situations is likely discounted by the fact that the public continues to have deep doubts about the mission in Libya, and doesn’t believe that the President has adequately explained what our mission there is:
The public is about evenly split in a new AP poll, with 48 percent approving and 50 percent disapproving of “U.S. involvement in military actions taken in Libya.” That’s about the same as polls from Pew and Gallup reported Monday. The AP poll completed its interviewing on Monday night, when President Obama gave his prime time speech on Libya. At just 13 percent, there is virtually no support for sending ground troops into Libya, in line with earlier polls from CNN and Pew.
A poll from Quinnipiac University, also completed on Monday night among registered voters, found varying levels of support with subtle reactions to the timing and ongoing commitment in Libya. A 53 percent majority approve of Obama’s decision to use cruise missiles to destroy Libya’s air defenses.
But beyond that initial approval for limited action, fewer believe a continued commitment is justified. Fully 47 percent say we should not be involved in Libya now, with just 41 percent saying it is the “right thing” for the United States to use military force now.
Additionally, a new Rasmussen Poll shows little change in public opinion on Libya after President Obama’s speech on Monday night. This, combined with an economy that still seems to be in limbo and rising energy and food prices, are likely contributing to Obama’s decline.
Ed Morrissey notes:
Normally, a military action allows a President an opportunity to demonstrate those leadership qualities. Obama squandered that opportunity by leaving the country without addressing the nation as he sent the American military into a fresh conflict. His speech ten days later might undo some of that damage, but if it doesn’t, Obama is in serious political trouble. Few Presidents win a second term on a 41/50 re-elect number, especially when seem as a weak leader on top of it.
This much is true, but we are still about 19 months from the 2012 elections, and the GOP field still looks like a bunch of dwarfs, so don’t count Obama out just yet. With the right circumstances, and the right opponent, though, there’s a good chance that Barack Obama could be a one term President.