As we discussed on our morning call today, confidence in President Obama appears to be breaking to the downside. The most recent Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll measured -3, which is the worst reading since Obama became President. This poll measures the differences between strongly approve and strongly disapprove, and for the first time more people strongly disapprove of the way the President is doing his job. In the chart below, we've outlined the Rasmussen Poll since its inception for Obama, and it highlights the negative trend in Obama's approval rating.
A key shift relates to greater time away from the Bush administration. As a point in fact, another Rasmussen poll indicates that 54% of those polled still blame President Bush and his administration for the economic woes. While this is a large number, it is noteworthy for the fact that this number is down from 62%, from a month ago. The implication being that, and whether he deserves it or not, this is starting to be branded as President Obama's economy as there is a direct correlation between Obama's popularity declining and people blaming Bush less for current economic woes.
The other area that seems to be hurting President Obama is foreign affairs. As we noted in the Early Look today, President Obama is taking a very different tact than his predecessor on foreign policy and so far positive results have been limited. As a frame of reference, the current top three headlines on the drudgereport.com are as follows:
- - Iran's Revolutionary Guards Say They Will Crush Any Protests...
- - NKorea threatens to harm USA if attacked...
- - Al Qaeda says would use Pakistani nukes on USA...
Obviously Matt Drudge is right leaning, but the above headlines highlight the serious international issues currently facing President Obama. Once again, while President Obama is certainly not to blame for these international threats, he is now in the driver's seat for dealing with them and as these issues manifest the news flow more extensively, they will likely continue to negatively impact the President's approval rating.
The Gallup Daily Presidential Approval poll from yesterday mirrored the findings in the Rasmussen poll. In the Gallup poll, President Obama's approval is at 57%, which is the lowest approval of his presidency based on this poll. In a number of other instances, Obama has fallen to below 60% in approval for a three day period, but has always quickly recovered to above 60%. Therefore, his approval rating over the coming days will be a real test as to whether the honeymoon approval rating is really over.
In aggregate, and not surprisingly, President Obama seems to be holding his approval with Democrats, but according to Gallup:
"The latest decline in Obama's approval score, to 58%, results from a drop in approval among political independents as well as among Republicans. Democrats remain as highly supportive of the president as ever. Obama's approval rating was 60% from June 13-15, at which time 88% of Democrats, 60% of independents, and 25% of Republicans approved of the job he was doing. In the June 16-18 polling, Democrats' approval of him stands at 92% -- up slightly -- whereas approval is down among both independents (by seven points) and Republicans (by four points)."
Most interestingly, the independents that moved to Obama in hoards during the presidential election last fall, now seem to be seriously wavering. While on the other hand, Obama's support among his own party is as strong as ever. So what is happening among the independents? The best place to find that answer may come from New Hampshire. In the New Hampshire Union Leader this morning, which is the largest paper in New Hampshire, there was an editorial sharply critical of Obama's health care plan, and specifically the disconnect between Obama saying there will be no additional spending for his plan and the Congressional Budget Office suggesting that current proposals would dramatically increase spending.
According to the New Hampshire Union Leader:
"For health care reform to "not add to the federal deficit over the next decade," every penny of new taxpayer spending on health care reform would have to be paid for by either a tax increase or a spending cut somewhere else. We're talking about roughly $1 trillion in spending -- all paid for. But remember, we already have a $1.8 trillion deficit this year. Every penny spent on health care reform is a penny not spent to pay down the existing deficit. So in reality, health care reform will at the very least perpetuate existing deficits even if it doesn't expand them.
While having solidarity among his party is powerful, in a country where only ~ 40% of adults identify themselves as Democrats, Obama has to continue to appeal to independents and if the New Hampshire Union Leader is any proxy, he is losing them.
Daryl G. Jones