The latest Rasmussen poll has President Obama at 19% strong approval versus 45% strong disapproval, for a Presidential Approval Index rating of -26. The polling firm declares this “the lowest Approval Index rating yet measured for President Obama,” noting that “the previous low was -24, reached yesterday and also in September 2010.”
Some interesting polling numbers on issues came in as well:
Only 20% think government anti-poverty programs reduce poverty. Seventy-one percent (71%) believe too many people get welfare who should not be getting it. Only 18% believe the opposite is true. Fifty-nine percent (59%) think immigrants who follow the law and enter the United States legally should have to wait three years or more before collecting welfare benefits.
Forty-two percent (42%) of American Adults believe corporations pay too little in taxes, while 24% feel they pay too much. Most (59%) think it is better to have lower corporate tax rates and very few deductions than to have higher tax rates and lots of deductions. Seventy-nine percent (79%) recognize that corporations generally pass higher taxes along to their customers in the form of higher prices.
The percentages who recognize that corporate taxes are passed along to customers, and simpler taxes with lower rates would be superior to the current system, are encouraging. The Obama method of vast government spending and complex regulation appears to be suffering the same kind of rejection as the President himself. His endless bleating about corporate jets doesn’t seem to have gotten him anywhere with the electorate.
Meanwhile, a new Gallup poll has Obama losing the 2012 election to Mitt Romney, tying with Rick Perry, and only narrowly edging out Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann. Until now, Obama has only suffered that kind of poll beating against the mysterious right-wing superhero known as Generic Republican.
The momentum of failure is difficult for Obama to escape. Public impressions of candidates form in strange ways. The media can consciously influence this process, but they don’t fully control it. People can only hear the same old excuses wheeze out of Obama so many times before they conclude there is nothing to be gained by listening to him anymore. They can only hear the same old failed policies repeated so many times before it all becomes a meaningless hiss of white noise. That’s a bad place for any re-election campaign to be.
Obama partisans have tried to claim victory in various public-relations battles, only to miss how thoroughly they were losing the war. The elder George Bush went through something similar, when dealing with his own economic woes. The aura of disengagement and ineffectuality hung around him like a political burial shroud, causing even people who didn’t “hate” him to tune out.
The legendary grocery store checkout incident, in which some polite interest in bar code scanners by President Bush was transformed into a caricature about an out-of-touch elitist who had clearly never been in a grocery store, provides a useful example. It didn’t just stick to him because the media pushed the story hard. It stuck because so many people had already formed that conclusion about Bush. The momentum that swept him out of office had become irresistible, and Bill Clinton knew how to ride the wave.
Something similar is happening to the media’s most beloved President, the man they carried across the finish line with gusto in 2008. There’s nothing good for them to spin. There’s no way to put a happy face on his utterly catastrophic decision to party in Martha’s Vineyard while the American economy groans through the Obama Depression. There’s no way to spin his absurd “bus tour” as anything but a pointless waste of taxpayer money. His hollow pose of post-partisan unifying idealism was lost forever in the bitter debt-ceiling battle. His speeches have become a drinking game played with bottles of milk of magnesia.
An angry public might be finessed. It’s tough to win them back after they grow bored.