Can We Stop Saying Barack Obama Is Exceptionally Popular?

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on July 18, 2009

Because it’s just not true:

Could it be that President Barack Obama’s Midas touch is starting to dull a bit, even among members of his own party?

Conservative House Democrats are balking at the cost and direction of Obama’s top priority, an overhaul of the nation’s health care system. A key Senate Democrat, Max Baucus of Montana, complains that Obama’s opposition to paying for it with a tax on health benefits “is not helping us.”

Another Democrat, Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma, tells his local newspaper that Obama is too liberal and is “very unpopular” in his district.

From his first days in office, Obama’s popularity helped him pass the landmark $787 billion stimulus package and fueled his ambitious plans to overhaul the nation’s health care system and tackle global warming.

Obama continues to be comparatively popular. But now recent national surveys have shown a measurable drop in his job approval rating, even among Democrats. A CBS news survey out this week had his national approval rating at 57 percent, and his standing among Democrats down 10 percentage points since last month, from 92 percent to 82 percent.

With the economy continuing to sputter and joblessness on the rise, many of Obama’s staunchest Democratic supporters are anxious for his agenda to start bearing fruit.

“We are eager and impatient, so you’re seeing a little bit of that,” said Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. “Elections have results, and those in the base are the most anxious to achieve what’s promised in the election. That’s why Democrats are showing some impatience in reaching our goal.”

I really doubt that the President is losing popularity points merely because his base is impatient. His base is relatively understanding of the political pressures Obama is up against, and still rather enamored of him. But the adoration is wearing off–especially amongst members of the political class.

Perhaps the reason for that has less to do with “impatience” concerning the fulfillment of certain policy goals, and more to do with the realization that Barack Obama is not the Messiah. He’s just another politician.

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