Obama’s Approval In Free Fall

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Barack, Obama, Polls

These things tend to ebb and flow, but it appears as if the health care debate (and probably the Gates incident) has really taken a toll on his popularity among independents and moderate Dems. Because those are the folks who usually keep his numbers closer to the mid 60s.

First, there’s Gallup which shows Obama at 52%…



Then NBC/WSJ:

The poll also finds that Obama’s overall job-approval rating has dropped to 53 percent. And it shows a public that has grown increasingly concerned about the federal government’s spending as the administration defends its $787 billion economic stimulus and supports a $1 trillion-plus health-care bill.

Last CBS/NY Times:

Mr. Obama’s job approval rating has dropped 10 points, to 58 percent, from a high point in April.

So why do I say “free fall?”

Well, the trend is obviously going down and there’s nothing to suggest that it’ll pick back up. And I can’t help but think it’ll continue to drop as the health care fight gets bloodier, which is inevitable at this point. Too much money involved and not enough correct info out there about what reform really means.

Essentially, Repubs are winning the health care battle right now and Obama’s popularity is getting hit for it, even with bi-partisan legislation on its way in both the House and the Senate.

More as it develops…


This entry was posted on Thursday, July 30th, 2009 and is filed under Barack, Obama, Polls. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “Obama’s Approval In Free Fall”

  1. Justin Gardner - Political Pulse - What If Obama Walked Away From Health Care? - True/Slant Says:

    [...] that we’ve seen Obama’s approval start to dip, what would be the political repercussions for him to simply say, “Okay, I’ll kick this [...]

  2. Chris Says:

    i don’t see why he would care, he doesn’t have to be re-elected for another 3.5 years. plenty of time to win back people’s hearts.

  3. Nick Benjamin Says:

    Obama’s very good at ignoring the hurly-burly stuff the media throws up and keeping his eyes on what’s important. In late 2007 the polls and Hillary’s “inevitable” talk were irrelevant. What mattered was delegates, and whether he was on track to get more than her.

    So 40 months before the election his approval rating is irrelevant. It’s fall is not hard to predict, and not due to anything any politician has done. It’s caused by a) the honeymoon ending, and b) the fact the stimulus plan hasn’t worked. Yet.

    What’s important for Obama is that he gets something resembling health care reform passed, that it helps some folks, and that the stimulus package works.

    Ideally all this happens before the next Congressional elections.

  4. Jason Arvak Says:

    Too much money involved and not enough correct info out there about what reform really means.

    This might be in part because advocates of reform have spent most of their time demonizing the other side instead of patiently presenting a rational case for specific reforms.

    The choice to make a priority out of political combat as an end in itself has a cost, and an awfully large proportion of liberals have chosen that path.

  5. Mike A. Says:

    Jason says “This might be in part because advocates of reform have spent most of their time demonizing the other side instead of patiently presenting…..an awfully large proportion of liberals have chosen that path.”

    Replace “advocates” with “opponents” and “liberals” with “conservatives” and you would have an equally compelling argument. To claim the conservatives have not chosen the path of demonizing the other side is ridiculous. On the whole (not taking into account some people are truly trying to work out a solution) both sides are acting like 3rd graders on the playground. And what’s more distressing is we are allowing it to be this way.

  6. kranky kritter Says:

    If Obama walks away from healthcare, that sort of makes him a douche and give the lie to all the things he has said so far.

    Here’s the thing: if you have an approval rating of sixty-something percent, and you wade heavily into an important, complicated, and contentious issue. and you try to lead, then your approval rating MUST go down. It’s mathematical. You’ll be taking positions that are against the positions of some of the folks who were part of the 60-something percent who supported you. And you’ll lose the support of some or many of them.

    So if you are popular, and you want to lead on an important issue, then you have to spend your popularity wisely and carefully if you want to get something done. If Obama or any other President backs away from reform on an important issue because his ratings are going down, he’s no leader.

    Obama has spent much time telling us that this is crucial and change must come now. Circumstances are showing just how hard and complicated such change is. Obama’schallenge is to amp up his leadership. So far, he has really been little more than an especially articulate cheerleader. Now he has to go from knee deep to chest deep by looking right at the major points of disagreement, identifying possible compromises on those issues, and pushing folks towards them.

    And whatever gets passed, Obama owns. Just like Bush owned Iraq. When Bush chose to invade, I said Bush owned it, and the outcome would determine how he is ultimately regarded. If Iraq is still a decently functioning democracy a decade from now, historians will give Bush credit, even if they also,tabulate the mistakes, deaths, and so on.

    Same thing with whatever Obamacare ends up being. If costs are brought under control and all Americans have reasonable access to healthcare and the government does not go bankrupt, it’ll be Obama’s win. If costs continue to swell, access issues are not resolved, and the budget sinks further into the red as the government consumes more and more GDP, then THAT will be Obama’s legacy.

    But I suspect THAT debate will linger on much as the debate over who deserves credit for ending the great depression.

  7. mw Says:

    Obama still has a huge reservoir of good will from most Americans that he can tap before the 2012 election. He is likable and personable and I fully expect him to win a 2nd term, barring some massive corruption being uncovered in his administration between now and them.

    I don’t think his current poll problems have that much to do with the health care debate. That is more like collateral damage. He really did (does) have a mandate to do something about Health Care. He just chose to squander it with his previous actions on the stimulus and budget.

    His lack of credibility on Health care and consequent poll numbers have more to do with the disingenuous duplicity, distortion, and outright falsehoods he promoted about the stimulus, budget, and deficit spending bills he bulldozed through Congress. People are just not as stupid as the administration hoped they would be. Obama and his minions actually had the chutzpah to attack the Bush administration for doubling the deficit, while they are submitting legislative proposals that quadruple it (then expecting credit for a proposal to halve the deficit after quadrupling it – lets see – 4 times X divided by two is um…. well – you do the math).

    This Matt Welch Op-ed in the Washington Post nailed it:

    Beyond pushing the “emergency” $787 billion stimulus package (even while acknowledging that the vast majority of funds would be released in 2010 and beyond), Obama signed a $410 billion omnibus spending bill and a $106 billion supplemental spending bill to cover “emergency” expenses in Iraq and Afghanistan (and, improbably, a “cash for clunkers” program). Despite pledges to achieve a “net spending cut” by targeting earmarks and wasteful spending, Obama rubber-stamped more than 9,000 earmarks and asked government agencies to trim a paltry $100 million in spending this year, 0.003 percent of the federal budget. Such is the extent of Obama’s magical realism that he can promise to post all bills on the Internet five days before signing them, serially break that promise and then, when announcing that he wouldn’t even try anymore, have a spokesman present the move as yet another example of “providing the American people more transparency in government.”

    What the new president has not quite grasped is that the American people understand both irony and cognitive dissonance… Don’t pretend that a budget that doubles the national debt in five years and triples it in 10 is the work of politicians tackling “the difficult choices.” Americans have a pretty good (if slow-to-activate) B.S. detector, and the more you mislead them now, the worse they’ll punish you later.”

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