Obama Failing on the Things the Public Cares Most About

Obama Failing on the Things the Public Cares Most About

Rick Moran

As Ed Lasky wryly points out in an email on this poll, “But he gave himself (modestly for him) a B+…”

Jennifer Rubin on a new poll in the Economist of all adults – not just registered or likely voters which would skew the results more toward the right:

The results show a president struggling. On the oil spill, 28% approve and 42% disapprove of his performance. On taxes, government spending, immigration, gun control, national defense, and terrorism the respondents say they are closer to the Republican Party than the Democratic Party. On gun control and national defense there is a double-digit gap. Democrats do better on regulating business (but within the margin of error), the environment, abortion (also within the margin of error), gay marriage, health care (by four points) and energy policy. In an enormous turnaround since Obama took office, the parties tie on the economy.

38 percent support the goals of the Tea Party movement; 27 percent do not. In a slew of areas (the Middle East, Afghanistan, energy policy, the environment, the economy, job security, health-care coverage, education, entitlement programs, the financial system, and Wall Street) the public thinks we are worse off than two years ago. There is no area in which the public thinks things have improved. They disapprove of Obama’s performance on Iraq, the economy (39 percent strongly so), immigration (41 percent strongly so), the environment, terrorism, gay rights, social security, the deficit ( 57 percent strongly or somewhat), Afghanistan, and taxes. On education they approve, but within the margin of error. Overall 44 percent approve of his performance and 49 percent do not.

With the exception of education and health care, the areas respondents are most concerned about (the economy, terrorism, social security, the budget deficit, and taxes) are ones on which Obama is doing very poorly and which most respondents believe have gotten worse in the last two years.

The first peg is in place to defeat Obama in 2012; people have lost faith in him as a leader and it seems problematic whether he can regain enough respect before 2012 to win.

The second peg is much more difficult; the GOP must find someone to run against him and come up with a positive agenda that the American people can rally behind. Currently, Obama leads all Republican challengers despite his lowly approval ratings. While the public appears to be souring on Obama, there is no one in the GOP field that excites them enough to defeat an incumbent president – a feat last achieved in 1992 but  rare otherwise. 

Obama is slowly being Carterized. And given the bleak outlook on the economy, the oil spill, foreign affairs, and the mid terms, the president may very well find himself with a primary challenge of his own.

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