James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

Obama polls continue to melt during Recovery Summer

July 29, 2010

President Barack Obama’s “recovery summer” has become a summer swoon. GDP growth has downshifted, as have his poll numbers. And with Democrats likely to suffer big losses in November’s elections, the president will have to rethink his economic agenda or face gridlock in 2011.

A new Reuters-Ipsos survey puts Obama’s job approval at 48 percent, down two points from June. It’s a number that doesn’t bode well for Democrats in the congressional midterms. Since 1962, the party of a president with an approval rating under 50 percent lost an average of 41 seats in the House of Representatives. Republicans currently need 39 seats to retake the lower chamber, and thereby regain control over the initiation of tax and spending bills. (Other polls are even more discouraging. The RealClearPolitics poll aggregator has Obama at 46.0 approve, 48.7 disapprove.)

Drill a bit deeper into the poll and the danger for congressional Democrats appears even more acute. In the poll, 46 percent said they would vote Republican for Congress against 44 percent who preferred Democrats. In 2008, Democrats took 55 percent of that vote. For now at least, Republicans are also much more determined to vote in November’s polls than Democrats.

Meanwhile, 31 percent of respondents said they “strongly disapprove” of Obama’s performance, a five point jump. The economy is draining his popularity more and more every day. The Reuters poll suggests it is his weakest issue, and voters are gloomier about America’s direction than they were last summer. That’s not an unreasonable assessment. Though the U.S. economy is expanding, the annual growth rate is probably now closer to 2 percent than 3 percent — not enough to chip away much at the 9.5 percent unemployment rate before the elections come around.

A change of control in Congress might seem a harbinger of gridlock next year. The dark scenario would involve battles as Republicans try to repeal parts of recent healthcare and financial sector legislation. But with greater numbers, the GOP might in fact feel more secure and thus more willing to haggle — as it did during Bill Clinton’s presidency.

Hashing out compromises would, however, also require Obama to shift toward the Republicans on key issues like taxes and regulation. Doing so would be a much better option than spending his next two years defending the sweeping reforms passed in his first two.

Comments

I wish the liberal media would stop selectively editing stories to push a certain point of view. Obama may be polling poorly, but Republican opposition is polling much, much worse. Americans aren’t about to turn the country back over to them, and here are the numbers that prove it.

As congressional Republicans promise a return to President Bush’s economic policies, a new National Journal/Pew Research poll finds that Americans believe “President Obama’s policies offer a better chance at improving the economy over the policies of his predecessor.”

More Democrats favor Obama’s policies than Republicans favor Bush’s, while Independents overwhelming side with Obama. Overall, despite continued tough economic times, 46 percent of Americans say Obama’s policies will do more to improve the economy, compared to just 29 percent who say the same of Bush’s:

http://congressionalconnection.nationalj ournal.com/2010/07/despite-tough-climate -public-p.php

The poll also found that only 30 percent of Americans support retaining all the Bush tax cuts, while a similar portion believe they should all be allowed to expire. Twenty-seven percent favor repealing the tax cuts for wealthy, while maintaining the rest, as the Obama administration has proposed.

Posted by Yellow105 | Report as abusive
 

Yellow105: George W. Bush won’t be on the ballot this coming November. Find another bogeyman to distract the masses.

Posted by Gotthardbahn | Report as abusive
 

We, the Tea Party, are gonna kick out the liberal bush-likes and the obummer gang. Quit whining. An ounce of sweat is worth an ocean of tears. Live free or die.

Posted by wisehiney | Report as abusive
 

Obama needs to tax Wall Street pay at 60% rates

Posted by STORYBURN17 | Report as abusive
 

@GotHard Old Boy- The big question is who you going to be pushing? Ronnie can’t be resurrected and if even if he could be, you’d kick him out of the party.

@Wisehimer- Tea Party- what a bunch of blowhards, are you sure Ahmadinejad doesn’t write your rhetoric?!

Bottom line- at this point it’s all about who sucks less and republicans are legends in their own shower.

Posted by mynamehear2 | Report as abusive
 

Gotthardbahn–Republicans are all over the TeeVee saying they want to bring back Bush’s economic policies, extend his tax cuts, etc. So, sorry, but Bush is still president as far as they are concerned. And he still polls pretty poorly.

Posted by Yellow105 | Report as abusive
 

The same people that say, “the Fed Gov doesn’t do anything right” are the same ones criticizing it when it doesn’t instantly accelerate a $13T battered economy (worst since 1933) in 18 months. I would have more respect for their arguements if they had any logic or consistency to them.

Gov is only 1 component of GDP, about 25% of it. It can only do so much when the other components, Consumer+Investment+Trade spending are still hung over from 2008. I’d have to say Fed policy (equal amounts of infusion of $$ by deficit spending and tax breaks) has helped the recovery (at a minimum). It would be difficult arguement to say the policies have hindered recovery. In other words, it would have done better on its own, with no Gov investment or tax breaks.

The recovery is slow bt it IS a recovery. I wish every company in America instantly had demand to hire all the unemployed people but I also live in reality. Its more of a function of economics like supply-demand rather if the president is a Democrat or Republican. Politicians know this but they still BS you into thinking its greener on the other side. Don’t believe the hype.

Posted by mvherring | Report as abusive
 

Great website you have here but I was curious if you knew of any message boards that cover the same topics discussed in this article? I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get feedback from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks a lot!

 

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