The latest Zogby Poll suggests that the political troubles that have afflicted President Barack Obama, resulting in the “shellacking” of the 2010 midterm elections, have not only not abated, but have gotten seriously worse.
For the first time in his presidency, Barack Obama has slipped below a 40 percent approval rating. Obama now stands at 39 percent approval. 60 percent of the American electorate now disapproves of the President’s job performance.
Hypothetical 2012 matchups, while perhaps not so meaningful almost two years before the presidential elections, also constitute appalling news for the President. They have Obama losing against Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Jeb Bush and tied with Sarah Palin. Obama only wins when matched against Donald Trump or New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“Among independents, match-ups between Obama and Republicans Romney, Gingrich, Palin and Bush are very close. Versus all of these hypothetical opponents except Bloomberg, Obama draws between 36% and 39% of independents. He beats Bloomberg among independents, 26%-12%, but 49% of independents would choose neither. Obama beats Trump with independents, 36%-29%.
“Obama wins between 75% and 78% of Democrats versus all opponents except Bloomberg, against whom Obama gets 65%. The percentage of Democrats who would choose neither Obama nor his opponent ranges from 7% versus Romney and 18% versus Bloomberg.
“Among Republicans, Gingrich leads with 79%, followed by Romney 77% and Palin 72%. One-half of Republicans would choose Trump over Obama, but 43% want neither. Bloomberg would get only 19% of Republicans, with 74% not wanting either the New York City mayor or Obama.”
The political reversal of fortune being suffered by President Obama, who came into office with about a 60 percent approval rating, could not be more stark. While the 2012 campaign will not begin in earnest for another year, the numbers shown by Zogby suggest that the prospects of a second Obama term are now very much in doubt.
Mind, things can change in a year or two. The economy could improve. Some accommodation could be arrived at concerning the running sore known as health care reform.
On the other hand, things could also get worse. There is nothing in the current gridlock over tax policy that suggests that a recovery is just around the corner. The Obama administration seems to be prepared to be particularly mulish concerning health care reform. The current controversy over airport security procedures is further angering the electorate.
And, as the flare-up on the Korean Peninsula suggests, a foreign policy disaster similar to the Iranian hostage crisis that sank the Carter administration always remains a real possibility.
President Obama’s spiraling approval numbers are likely to embolden congressional Republicans and demoralize Democrats. Fights over a number of issues, including taxes, health care, airport security, and spending, with the Republicans taking positions popular with the voting public, and the Obama administration on the opposite side, would tend to erode the President’s job approval and authority even further.
The smart thing for Obama to do would be to moderate, to try to come to some kind of accommodation not only with the Republicans, but with political reality. But there is some doubt that the President is capable of doing that, much to his detriment.
Source: Zogby Interactive: Obama Falls to 39%, As Support from Democrats Continues to Slide; He Trails Romney, J. Bush & Gingrich in ’12, Zogby International, November 23rd, 2010