President Barack Obama’s poll ratings are falling according to three new polls; CBS News/The New York Times, Bloomberg and Gallup polls released on Sept. 25, 2013. Obama reached his lowest approval since 2011 based on a recent CBS News/The New York Times poll, and for the first time in his presidency, Obama has a higher unfavorable rating than favorable rating in a new Bloomberg poll, while Gallup indicates the President is losing support from Democrats as well.
The Bloomberg poll indicated that President Obama for the first time is facing unpopularity, with a 49 percent unfavorable rating to 47 percent viewing him favorably.
Obama’s marks are not much higher when asked about his handling of specific policy issues. The crisis in Syria having been the President’s worst problem, with 53 percent disproval and 51 disapproving of how he dealt with “the nation’s reputation in the world.”
The President is not seeing better poll numbers when it comes to domestic policy either, with only 38 percent approval rating on the economy, and 39 percent on health care.
The CBS News/The New York Times poll indicated that Obama’s general approval rating has also sunk to 43 percent and a disapproval of 49 percent. While the new Bloomberg poll has the President’s approval rating at 45 percent. A new CNN poll agrees with 45 percent approving and 49 percent disapproving of his job perfermance.
The new Gallup poll also pointed out that the President’s approval rating’s monthly average is also falling from last month and will be 45 percent for September; since June he has been losing a percentage every month. Obama however, has not surpassed his all time low of 41percent approval rating that he reached the months of August to October 2011. The average for his presidency this far is at 49 percent.
The CBS News/The New York Times poll also asked Americans how they feel about the direction of the country, with only 29 percent believing the “country is headed in the right direction,” and 66 percent saying it is on the “wrong track.” According to the Bloomberg poll 68 percents of the public thinks the country is heading in the wrong direction.
Approval over President Obama’s health care law is tied to view of the country’s direction. The 54 percent that approve of Obama’s the health care reform law the Affordable Care Act also believe the country is moving in the right direction, while 86 percent of those who disapprove of the law also come from the camp that believes the country is moving in the wrong direction.
Americans also disapprove of the way the President is dealing with Congress, acwith only 39 percent approving over how deals with themcording to the CBS News/The New York Times poll. Americans are particularly upset over Obama and Congress not negotiating to avert a government shutdown. Additionally, according to Bloomberg’s poll they reject by a large majority Obama’s notion of a clean spending bill, that there would be no negotiations and no provisions added to the spending bill with 61 percent believing it is “right to require spending cuts when the debt ceiling is raised even if it risks default.”
The Gallup poll shows that 53 percent want the two sides to compromise and only 25 percent believe its “more important [for legislators] to stick to their principles.” While in the CBS News/New York Times poll a huge majority of 80 percent find the threat of a government shutdown unacceptable, with only 16 percent agree the threat is a proper way to negotiate over the budget and debt ceiling limit.
Gallup explained that “At a time when disagreements and inability to reach consensus in Congress pose the threat of a federal government shutdown, Americans express an increasingly strong preference for their political leaders in Washington to compromise, rather than stick to their principles at the cost of getting nothing done.”
The new Gallup poll also indicated President Obama is losing support from his core group of supporters; Democrats. Only 78 percent of Democrats approve of Obama, 91percent approved of the President right after his reelection in December 2012, while Obama’s all time low was 77 percent from August to October 2011, he consistently polled above 80 percent support from Democrats from December 2011 until this new poll. Gallup pointed out that usually the party base is the last to abandon a President, and a sign of Obama is becoming a lame duck.
Americans are not just dissatisfied with the President; they are dissatisfied with the most of the federal level elected officials. Republicans do not fare well with their lowest showing since 2009 with only a 34 percent approval rating; Democrats do not have much more to boast about with only a 44 percent approval rating.
While a recent Gallup poll shows how unpopular all four congressional leaders are as well; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV has only 33 percent approval with a 53 percent disapproval rating; Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH has 37 percent approval with 54 percent disapproval rating. The minority leaders are not much more popular; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. has 35 percent approval and 47 percent disapproval rating, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s, D-Calif. approval is the highest at 39 percent, but still has a high disapproval rating at 51 percent.
President of Selzer & Co. , J. Ann Selzer, the firm that conducted the Bloomberg poll cited the reasons behind the recent poll ratings; “Obama has been damaged, but the Republicans haven’t crawled out of their own hole.” While one of the poll’s respondents summed up the President’s problem the best; “People are so divided and unwilling to compromise. There’s no unity from the administration. He sticks to his ideals and points fingers. I don’t think that’s the right way to lead.”
The President has not had an easy month, with first the Syria crisis and the threat of an unpopular military strike, and now with his battles over the budget, debt ceiling and selling the implementation of Obamacare.
Coincidental, maybe not but at the same point in his predecessor George W. Bush’s presidency he started to see a dive his poll ratings that he could ever recover from, leading him to have the second lowest approval rating when in he left office than any other President except Harry Truman over 50 years earlier. Bush’s approval rating dip was attributed his response and handling of the Hurricane Katrina aftermath.
President Obama has been more consistently popular than Bush, it did not seem likely he would fall victim to the same dip, but his handling of the Syria crisis was questioned and may be the main the reason the tide turned.
Whether Obama’s polls will keep sliding depends how the budget and debt ceiling battle plays out and if he proves Republicans wrong and his health care law is actually a success. If President Obama’s strategy works and he can get a spending bill passed before Sept. 30, and then the debt ceiling raised by Oct. 17 then the President’s poll ratings will have a chance to rebound, the next few days may charter the course for the rest of his term.
Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. Her specializations are US, Canadian & Israeli politics.