Obama The Un-Invincible

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on July 9, 2009

How far we have come from the days when the President towered over the political landscape. Can we all admit he is no longer the fabulously popular politician everyone and their pet canary claims he is?

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows that 30% of the nation’s voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-eight percent (38%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of –8. The President’s Approval Index rating has fallen six points since release of a disappointing jobs report last week (see trends).

Thirty-nine percent (39%) now give the President good or excellent marks for handling the economy while 43% say he is doing a poor job. Those are by far his lowest ratings yet on the economy Premium Members can see crosstabs, trends, and Scott Rasmussen’s Daily Briefing.

There is a gender gap when it comes to perceptions of Obama’s performance. By a 46% to 27% margin, men Strongly Disapprove. Women are more evenly divided—33% Strongly Approve and 30% Strongly Disapprove.

Thirty-four percent (34%) of voters nationwide say the U.S. is heading in the right direction, the lowest level of optimism since mid-March. The Rasmussen Index shows consumer and investor confidence are down again today reaching the lowest level in three months. The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor fell for the first time in three months. A Rasmussen video report notes that 46% want the government to stay out of the housing market.

The Presidential Approval Index is calculated by subtracting the number who Strongly Disapprove from the number who Strongly Approve. It is updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update). Updates also available on Twitter.

Overall, 51% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President’s performance so far. Forty-eight percent (48%) now disapprove. For other barometers of the President’s performance, see Obama By the Numbers or review recent demographic highlights from the tracking polls.

So, you know, that’s not good. And indeed, the not good aspect of the recent polling is confirmed by reports that independents are no longer as enamored of the President as they once were:

In a potentially alarming trend for the White House, independent voters are deserting President Barack Obama nationally and especially in key swing states, recent polls suggest.

Obama’s job approval rating hit a — still healthy — low of 56 percent in the Gallup Poll on Wednesday. And pollsters are debating whether Obama’s expansive and expensive policy proposals or the ground-level realities of a still-faltering economy are driving the falling numbers.

But a source of the shift appears to be independent voters, who seem to be responding to Republican complaints of excessive spending and government control.

“This is a huge sea change that is playing itself out in American politics,” said Democratic pollster Doug Schoen. “Independents who had become effectively operational Democrats in 2006 and 2008 are now up for grabs and are trending Republican.

“They’re saying, ‘Costing too much, no results, see the downside, not sure of the upside,’” he said.

Obviously, there remains time for the President to win back the disenchanted. But it is high time to admit that he is not the political colossus that so many in the media continue to try to make him out to be. It’s nice to see that the Politico is reporting the facts on the President’s popularity. Now, if only we can get more members of the media to rub the stars out of their eyes, we might see a larger–and entirely accurate–consensus develop that the White House is more politically vulnerable than a starstruck media makes it out to be.

Along with the President’s recent polling woes, we see that Republican candidate recruiting is picking up rather nicely. There is much more to do on this front, but for a party that was supposedly dismissed as dead, the GOP is certainly acting as though it has a lot of life left in it. And from the standpoint of the Democrats, how very inconvenient of it to do so. Of course, the GOP’s revival is aided by the consensus that Democrats now own the economy, and the fact that Democrats have failed to put the kibosh on divisive primaries in New York and Pennsylvania. Adding to recent Democratic woes is the loss of some potentially good candidate recruits. The situation is summed up nicely with the following passage:

Atlanta-based GOP consultant David Johnson said polling has borne out the current recruiting surge.

“They’re getting candidates, and the polling numbers seem to be changing — not so much that it’s pro-Republican as it is anti-Democrat,” Johnson said. “It could change, but it’s beginning to feel a lot like 2006 and 2008 did for the Democrats.”

Johnson pointed to the economy as the driving force behind the recruiting successes, and GOP candidates who have launched campaigns in recent days have focused their message almost exclusively on that trend.

Again, it is worth noting that all of this could change, and that there is plenty of time for Democrats to get back on track. They have the White House and Congress under their control, which means that they have plenty of tools with which to revive their fortunes.

But for the first time in a long while, the GOP has reason to smile about its political fortunes. It had nowhere to go but up, but few thought those fortunes could rise so quickly.

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