Newsmax/InsiderAdvantage Poll: Independents Desert Obama

Wednesday, 17 Aug 2011 12:16 PM

By David A. Patten

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President Barack Obama’s approval has fallen so far, so fast with independent voters that many of them won’t even admit they voted for him anymore.

According to the pollster who conducted an exclusive Newsmax/InsiderAdvantage survey released Tuesday, independents are “off the Richter scale” in registering their disapproval of the president’s job performance, just as the president is heading off on a 10-day vacation to Martha's Vineyard with his family.

The poll shows 61 percent of the independent voters that swept Obama to victory in 2008 now either “somewhat disapprove” or “disapprove” of the president’s job performance.

Locals send a message to the president in Peosta, Iowa. (Getty Images)
Only 40 percent of independents surveyed admitted they voted for Obama, compared to the 52 percent who gave him their vote in November 2008, according to CNN exit polling.

“What we’re seeing is people denying the fact that they were involved in the Obama presidency,” InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery tells Newsmax. “It’s a drop due to people who just will not say they voted for Barack Obama.”

Towery described independents’ disenchantment with Obama’s performance as “off the Richter scale.” Political scientists say the prime directive for presidential candidates is that they must win the swing vote in order to triumph in the general election.
 
Democratic pollster and Fox News commentator Doug Schoen struck a pessimistic note over whether the president’s current strategy, which relies on blasting congressional Republicans while promising new jobs proposals next month, can turn things around.

“The polls show the president is sinking,” Schoen tells Newsmax. “To reverse that, he needs a consistent approach -- something that has been noticeably lacking as he veers from partisanship to non-partisanship, with a dose of populism occasionally baked in.

“Obama can win,” Schoen adds, “but lacks a plan to revitalize the economy, create jobs, and spur economic growth. And absent that bold new agenda, it really doesn’t matter how the president positions himself politically.”

Meanwhile, Obama has been taking hit after hit for his lack of leadership in the debt debacle, for not calling Congress back to resolve unfinished business and for jetting off later this week on vacation to the exclusive resort island. The latest attack came from real estate mogul Donald Trump on Greta Van Susteren.

"Well, the fact is, he takes more vacations than any human being I've ever seen. They used to complain about George Bush, but I understand he's already exceeded George Bush and we're not even through the year. So he likes vacation," Trump said.

All of that combine is likely to hurt the president's image, experts say, and independents are notoriously fickle.

In November 2010, independents voiced their dissatisfaction at the ballot box, sweeping tea party-steeped Republicans back into power in the House of Representatives in a historic wave election.

Ever since, the president’s political advisers have been working hard to woo independents back into the fold by positioning the president at every turn as the voice of moderation.

In his Cannon Falls, Minn., speech Monday, for example, the president said: “So there is no shortage of ideas to put people to work right now. What is needed is action on the part of Congress, a willingness to put the partisan games aside and say, we’re going to do what’s right for the country, not what we think is going to score some political points for the next election.”

Pragmatic talk and compromise, which the president has been employing for months now, is supposed to be the love language that swing voters most like to hear. The Newsmax/InsiderAdvantage poll suggests that the president’s rhetoric has not found a receptive audience, however.

Only 35 percent of independents, for example, either “approve” or “somewhat approve” of how the president has handled the nation’s economy. That’s not as low as the 16 percent of Republicans who approve. But it is a marked departure from the 71.5 percent of Democrats who approve.

“Over 60 percent of independents say they do not approve of Barack Obama,” Towery comments. “That’s much higher than the percent of independents who admit they voted for him. So he’s losing independents left and right.”

Perhaps the most alarming finding of the survey for the president’s re-election hopes stems from the question: “If the election were held today, would you vote to re-elect Barack Obama, vote for the Republican nominee, vote for someone else, or not vote?”

Independents favor the generic, unknown Republican over Obama by 42 percent to 24 percent -- nearly a two-to-one margin.

“Among independents, he is absolutely getting creamed,” Towery said.
A number of other recent polls also indicate the president is in serious political trouble. A Rasmussen Reports poll released Tuesday evening shows voters picking a generic Republican over President Obama by a 48 to 42 margin. It marked the sixth week in a row -- and the 12th out of the past 15 -- that the president has trailed a generic Republican opponent in that survey.

Other highlights from the exclusive Newsmax/InsiderAdvantage poll of 1,601 voters that was conducted Sunday evening:

• Only 35 percent of independents say they approve of how the president has handled the nation’s economy, compared to 58 percent who disapprove.

• Across all party affiliations, 54 percent disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy compared to 42.5 who approve.

• The president’s overall job-performance approval is 42 percent, compared to 55.4 percent who disapprove.

• Voters prefer a generic Republican over Obama by a 44.5 to 37 percent margin. 31 percent of Democrats said they would vote for the GOP nominee, or for neither party’s nominee.

• As reported Monday, fully 61 percent of voters now describe themselves as “alarmed” or “somewhat alarmed” over the current economy as it relates to them and their families.



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