Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gallup Daily: Obama Job Approval

Gallup Daily: Obama Job Approval
Gallup now has President Obama at 52/42. This is about the lowest approval rating Gallup has ever recorded for him as President. If you smooth out the bumps in the trend lines, the situation looks troubling for him. But if a health care reform bill passes that controls costs and expands coverage without the public option, I think he may recover rapidly. In other words, he is losing independents because he is acting like a leftist. If he starts acting like a centrist, he will be back in business. But that will tick off his lefty base. The conventional wisdom on that is, "So what?" because they have nowhere else to go.

1 comment:

DBX said...

The conventional wisdom would be wrong. What I see in the numbers -- and more immediately in talking with my friends and relatives of various political stripes -- is serious disillusionment with the Obama Administration on the left. The right hated him from the start and hasn't really altered its views significantly; the left is where the defections are now occurring. And the centrists -- the ones who donate to Blue Dog candidates, for example -- are the ones who want to "give him a break."

This wouldn't be the first time something like this has happened. If you parse apart the 1994 mid-term results, for example, you come away with a collapse in Democratic turnout more than you do with shifting to Republicans. Combined with stable Republican turnout, the result is a big GOP win. And not surprising, given the context. The kinds of base voters who show up in a mid-term were, on the Democratic side, expecting health care reform, and the numbers for both Clinton and Congressional Democrats collapsed in the middle of the year when they didn't get it.

And if you look at the issues where the numbers are shifting against Obama most strongly, it is stuff where he has gradually tacked rightwards -- namely, health care and investigating CIA/Cheney-related human rights abuses. Given the current GOP stance on both of those things, there's no reason for voters to be shifting to the GOP in response to the Obama Administration's moves (in the way that there would be on human rights and torture if, for example, Ron Paul were the GOP's public face). But there's every reason for the liberals simply to say, "No."