Polls: Obama Doing OK, Except For Horrifying Economy And Looming Depression

Today Gallup and USA Today released the results of a presidential approval poll taken May 12-15, with “a random sample of 1,024 adults aged 18 and older.” 

They came up with an overall Presidential approval rating of 50%, suggesting Obama has held on to a small but steady “bounce” after the death of Osama bin Laden.  This varies with most other polls, which say the “bounce” is long gone.

The list of specific issues Gallup polled on is interesting.  Obama gets horrible marks on immigration (37% approval), the economy (32% approval) and the federal deficit (32%).  His disapproval number on the deficit is a whopping 63%.  It looks like “all politics, no plan” isn’t working for him.

On the other hand, Gallup gives the President good numbers on terrorism (63% approval), “the situation in Afghanistan” (53%), and foreign affairs (51%).  In other words, the stuff nobody is really thinking about at the moment.

The terrorism rating is easy enough to understand, since the last big War on Terror news to hit most Americans was “bin Laden is dead.”  The inclusion of “the situation in Afghanistan” is an odd choice for Gallup, though.  Why didn’t they ask about the situation in Libya, or Iraq?  Gallup / USA Today asked its poll respondents about six issues, in the midst of a complete economic meltdown, and one of them was Afghanistan?

How many of their poll respondents could reasonably be expected to have detailed knowledge about what’s going in Afghanistan at the moment?  I don’t think it can be fairly described as 53% good.  The Taliban has launched some devastating terrorist attacks, staged a massive jail break, and brought the Obama Administration to the negotiating table.  All is not lost, but I suspect those giving Obama a thumbs-up on Afghanistan would be surprised to learn these things.

Was Afghanistan awkwardly slipped into this poll, instead of Libya, because the pollsters wanted one more area where low-information respondents might be expected to give Obama decent ratings?

No amount of spin will keep Obama’s numbers out of the disaster zone for much longer.  CNN also has a new poll out, with a more recent time frame (June 3-7), that puts the President at 48-54 approval, which is down six points since late May. 

Ominously, over 80% of CNN’s respondents said the economy was in bad shape, and 48% of them said another Great Depression is likely to occur in the next year.  Yikes.