Two new polls are out today (one national, the other in California) which underscore just how unimpressed Americans are with the president’s job performance. The latest McClatchy-Marist poll has Barack Obama’s job approval at its lowest level for nearly two years – just 41 percent. It’s his worst showing since September 2011, when his approval hit 39 percent.
There can be little doubt that the wave of recent scandals has hurt the president’s standing, and undermined trust in the Administration, especially among Independents. The IRS debacle has been particularly damaging. The president’s floundering on foreign policy hasn’t helped either, with Americans disapproving of his performance in this area by a 48-41 percent margin. The president’s health care reforms are also a significant liability, with numerous polls showing strong public opposition to Obamacare.
But it is Obama’s handling of the economy that is almost certainly hitting him the hardest. According to McClatchy, only 37 percent of Americans approve of Obama in this area, compared to 56 percent who disapprove. Strikingly, 54 percent of Americans still believe the country is in recession, with only 29 percent expecting their family’s finances to improve in the coming year. And, as a new Washington Post-ABC Newssurvey finds, 35 percent of Americans strongly disapprove of the way Obama is handling the economy, compared to just 22 percent who strongly approve.
Worryingly for the White House, support for Obama is eroding even in areas of the country that are solidly liberal. In Democrat-dominated California, the latest Field Poll shows Obama’s job performance rating dropping by ten points since February, with his approval rating standing at 52 percent, down from 62 percent. As the Field pollsters note,disillusionment is sinking in among his traditionally strongest supporters:
The recent decline in the President’s approval ratings in California can be seen across all demographic subgroups of the electorate. Obama’s biggest declines have occurred among segments of the California electorate that had been among his strongest supporters. For example, in the past five months Obama’s job approval declined fourteen points among registered Democrats (88% to 74%), fifteen points among women (from 68% to 53%), and fourteen points among voters under the age of 40 (from 71% to 57%). It has also declined fourteen points among college graduates, thirteen points among white non-Hispanics and twelve points among non-partisans.
In an effort to stem the bleeding at the polls, President Obama is delivering a major speech on the economy tomorrow at Knox College in Illinois. He faces an uphill struggle however, with Detroit’s bankruptcy a powerful reminder to Americans of the failure of big government policies and taxpayer-funded bailouts, policies that the president himself has championed. As the latest RealClear Politics poll average shows, nearly 60 percent of Americans believe the United States is heading down the wrong track. In Illinois Obama will need to offer more than empty platitudes and failed ideas to convince an increasingly sceptical American public that they should feel confident about the economic path the country is taking.