Obama’s Approval Numbers Sinking Fast
Another poll brings bad news for the White House.
The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has some very bad news for the White House:
Americans are more pessimistic about the state of the country and less confident in President Barack Obama’s leadership than at any point since Mr. Obama entered the White House, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
The survey also shows grave and growing concerns about the Gulf oil spill, with overwhelming majorities of adults favoring stronger regulation of the oil industry and believing that the spill will affect the nation’s economy and environment.
Sixty-two percent of adults in the survey feel the country is on the wrong track, the highest level since before the 2008 election. Just one-third think the economy will get better over the next year, a 7-point drop from a month ago and the low point of Mr. Obama’s tenure.
Amid anxiety over the nation’s course, support for Mr. Obama and other incumbents is eroding. For the first time, more people disapprove of Mr. Obama’s job performance than approve. And 57% of voters would prefer to elect a new person to Congress than re-elect their local representatives, the highest share in 18 years.
The results show “a really ugly mood and an unhappy electorate,” said Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducts the Journal/NBC poll with GOP pollster Bill McInturff. “The voters, I think, are just looking for change, and that means bad news for incumbents and in particular for the Democrats.”
Mr. McInturff said voters’ feelings, typically set by June in any election year, are being hardened by frustration over the economy and the oil spill. “It would take an enormous and seismic event to change the drift of these powerful forces before November,” he said
And here are the highlights:
In the poll, Obama’s job-approval rating stands at 45 percent, which is down five points from early last month and down three points from late May.
Forty-eight percent in the current survey say they disapprove of his job performance.
What’s more, Obama’s favorable/unfavorable rating is now at 47 percent to 40 percent, down from 49 percent to 38 percent in early May and 52 percent to 35 percent in January.
His scores on other aspects of the presidency also have declined. In April 2009, 54 percent gave the president high marks for being able to handle a crisis; now it’s 40 percent.
In July 2009, 57 percent gave him high marks for being decisive and for his decision-making; now it’s 44 percent.
And also in July 2009, 61 percent gave him high marks for having strong leadership qualities; now it’s 49 percent.
And there are two issues that are dragging the President down right now. The first is the oil spill, where the poll shows that 50% of those surveyed disapprove of his handling of the crisis. The second is the economy, stupid:
[O]nly 33 percent believe the U.S. economy will get better in the next 12 months. That is a seven-point drop since May.
In addition, 62 percent say the country is headed in the wrong direction, which is its highest point in Obama’s presidency.
That last number is perhaps the more damaging than any other, even the job approval numbers. The right track/wrong track question is typically a fairly good indication of where the electorate is headed, and a high “wrong track” number is usually bad news for incumbents. After coming into office in the midst of the worst economic crisis in a generation, though, President Obama has failed to convince the public that the nation is on the right track:
Oil spill, economic stagnation, high unemployment, and a war in Afghanistan that seems to clearly be going badly. It’s no wonder the public is pessimistic. If this continues through November, I suspect we’ll be seeing more substantial Republican gains than some might be expecting.