Weak Economy Sinks Obama's Approval Numbers

Friday, 29 Jul 2011 11:00 AM

By Ralph Hostetter

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"The president's national numbers look bad, but his polling in battleground states is even worse, and the debt limit standoff hasn't helped him." So writes columnist Josh Kraushaar in the latest edition of The Atlantic magazine.

The headline above Kraushaar's article reads: "If the election were held today, Obama would lose in a landslide."

Extending his remarks, Kraushaar says, "President Obama's job approval rating in the latest national polls has been in the danger zone, ranging from 42 percent (Gallup) to 47 percent (ABC News/Washington Post), with every survey showing him with higher unfavorables than favorables.

"Needless to say, it is not a good place for a president to be, especially since his numbers have worsened over the last two months."

Kraushaar continues: "These polls are even more ominous for the president: in every reputable battleground state in polls conducted over the past month, Obama's support is weak. In most of them he trails Mitt Romney."

In Ohio, a leading battleground state, 50 percent of voters now disapprove of his job performance, according to a Quinnipiac poll conducted July 12 through 18.

Obama carried Michigan, a Democratic state, with 57 percent of the vote in the last presidential election. However, an EPIC-MRA poll conducted July 9 through 11 now shows him trailing Romney, with 46 percent to Obama's 42 percent. Only 39 percent rate Obama's job performance as "excellent" or "good."

Early voting tests in both Iowa and New Hampshire show that in Iowa, Romney holds 42 percent to Obama's 39 percent, according to a Mason-Dixon poll. The July Granite State Poll shows the president's approval rating at 46 percent among New Hampshire voters, with 49 percent disapproving.

A separate robo-poll conducted by Public Policy Polling in July shows Obama only slightly ahead of Romney in New Hampshire, 46 percent to 44 percent.

The latest Washington Post-ABC News Poll was conducted by telephone July 14 through 17, 2011.

Question: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?

On July 8, 2009, the rating was 76 percent approve, 23 percent disapprove. On July 17, 2011, it was 45 percent approve, 54 percent disapprove, creating a disapproval rating greater than Obama's approval rating for the first time in his administration.

More revealing are the poll numbers for individual subjects.
  • The economy: 39 percent approve; 57 percent disapprove
  • The federal deficit: 38 percent approve; 60 percent disapprove
  • Taxes: 45 percent approve; 47 percent disapprove
  • Creating jobs: 41 percent approve; 52 percent disapprove
Disapproval ratings outnumber approval ratings in all categories, indicating a disconnect between President Barack Obama and the public he has sworn to serve.

More troubling for Obama is the erosion of his power base on the left.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland says, "But drill down into that number (disapproval 54 percent) and you'll see signs of growing discontent on the left.

"Thirty-eight percent say they disapprove because President Obama has been too liberal, but 13 percent say they disapprove of Obama because he has not been liberal enough — nearly double what it was in May, when the question was last asked, and the first time that number has hit double digits in Obama's presidency."

Obama's approval ratings among liberals has dropped to 71 percent, the lowest point during his administration. This drop in liberal support has brought his overall approval rating down to 45 percent, down three points since June.

The economy plays a critical role in any and every election, presidential or otherwise.

If the economy is good, chances are very good that the incumbent will be re-elected. If the economy is down, the reverse is usually the norm.

Unless there is a dramatic turnaround, the present-day economy will prove to be a detriment to President Obama.

Who can forget Presidential Candidate William Jefferson Clinton's campaign manager's famous quote: "It's the economy, stupid!

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the last U.S. president re-elected when the unemployment rate was above 7.2 percent.

President Ronald Reagan was re-elected in 1984 with an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent.

The present unemployment rate is 9.2 percent.

The present recession is now 20 months out from the month when unemployment peaked at 10.1 percent in October 2009.

In October 2006, unemployment reached a low of 4.4 percent. It then rose steadily to a peak of 10.1 percent in October 2009. Twelve months later it dropped to 9.7, and 20 months later, it stands today at 9.2 percent after having fallen to 8.8 percent three months earlier.

This recession has been rated as “severe” some 20 months after it peaked, and still remains stubbornly high, in fact the highest of any of the four recessions the experts have examined.

The question arises: Shall we retain President Obama regardless of his lack of achievements, or shall we dismiss him at the 2012 election?

E. Ralph Hostetter, a prominent businessman and agricultural publisher, also is a national and local award-winning columnist. He welcomes comments by email sent to eralphhostetter@yahoo.com.


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