The headline of a London Telegraph story reads: Barack Obama sees worst poll rating drop in 50 years.
That’s pretty ominous and fatalistic sounding, but there are a few details that make it somewhat misleading. Here is the bottom line of the story:
Gallup recorded an average daily approval rating of 53 per cent for Mr Obama for the third quarter of the year, a sharp drop from the 62 per cent he recorded from April.
His current approval rating – hovering just above the level that would make re-election an uphill struggle – is close to the bottom for newly-elected president. Mr Obama entered the White House with a soaring 78 per cent approval rating.
Yes, he is taking on water, no question, but when there is an artificially high expectation, the grind of Washington, D.C. is going to take a heavy toll. Obama’s election was a watershed moment in U.S. history: we elected the first African-American in our history. That’s a big deal, and with his campaign of “hope and change” most people’s expectations were very high. Even many voters who cast a ballot against Obama had high expectations. Think about it, his approval was at 78 percent on inauguration day. That is a remarkably high number for a President when there isn’t a national crisis that rallies the nation (e.g. Bush 41’s approval in the 90’s after Desert Storm and Bush 43’s approval in the 90’s after 9-11)
So, of course Obama’s numbers were going to come down. Yes, he certainly had something to do with his own slide in popularity. The American people are very uneasy with the rush of government involvement in huge swaths of our economy (stimulus, auto bailout, bank bailout and now the march toward a government takeover of health care) and the incredible amount of money that is being shoved out the door to pay for all this. Remember when Clinton was President and we (read Republicans) were screaming bloody murder over a budget deficit of $300 billion? That’s chump change. This year the U.S. budget deficit is an eye-popping $1.75 TRILLION. That’s almost SIX TIMES larger than Clinton’s deficits.
So, yes, Obama has seen huge fallout in his numbers, one, because he started so high, and two because he is trying to too much too fast and Democrats in Congress are not helping him.