Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Zogby Analytics Poll: President’s Approval Plunges; Is It All Over for Him?

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A new Zogby Analytics poll shows President Barack Obama's approval dropping 3 points to 44%, while disapproval is up 4 points from just last month to 54%. The new nationwide poll of 1,110 likely voters was conducted online from June 27-29 and has a margin of sampling error or +/- 3 percentage points.

The President's support has dropped 2 points among men (44% to 42%); women 4 points (49% to 45%); 30-49 year olds (5 points, 51%-46%); Democrats (81% to 77%); independents 7 points (39% to 32%); liberals 7 points (83% to 76%); Hispanics 6 points (73% to 67%); African Americans 10 points (86% to 76%); and voters in union households 5 points (65% to 60%).

While Mr. Obama can at least be buoyed by Congress' merely 19% approval and 76% disapproval rating, there are some pretty ominous findings for him in this new Zogby poll. Still only 29% feel the United States is headed in the right direction while 57% say things are off on the wrong track. In response to a question we have been asking since the late 1990s about the incumbent occupant of the White House, voters are tied as to whether they are proud (40%) or ashamed (39%) that Mr. Obama is President. While the responds are highly partisan (Democrats are more proud than ashamed 73% to 11%; Republicans more ashamed 70% to 12%), Mr. Obama is clearly out of favor among independents with 41% ashamed and only 29% proud. Groups more likely to be proud of Mr. Obama include both groups under 50 years of age - 18-29 year olds (42%-30%) and 30-49 year olds (42%-36%); moderates 47% to 27%) and liberals (72%-13%); Catholics (45%-36%) and singles (45%-28%); NASCAR fans (50%-36%); social networkers (48%-34%); the Creative Class (53%-29%); Hispanics 54%-23%); and African Americans (76%-10%).

Those more likely to be ashamed of the President include Republicans (73%-11%) and conservatives (73%-11%); whites (46%-32%); both groups over 50 (50-64 year olds, 44%-39%, and those 65 and older (49%-36%).

We then presented respondents with the following statement:

Which statement comes closer to your view - Statement A or Statement B? Statement A: A recent poll showed that a majority of Americans think that President Obama is "unable to lead the country." One broadcast commentator said that the public is saying to the president that his presidency is over. Statement B: President Obama has been obstructed by Republicans on virtually every initiative he has supported, yet he has still accomplished a lot. He can continue to make progress on the environment, income inequality, foreign policy and job creation.

Almost half of voters nationwide agree with Statement A that the President currently "unable to lead" and that the "public is saying to the President that his presidency is over". Only 42% agree with Statement B that "still he has accomplished a lot… (and) can continue to make progress" on a number of initiatives. While the partisanship splits are predictable, Mr. Obama finds himself in the uncomfortable position where every age group, independents, and whites all agree that the public has given up on his ability to accomplish anything before the end of his term.

In short, we see a President in full salvage mode. He is not only racing for his legacy but for his relevancy. Twenty years ago, President Bill Clinton found himself in about the same position after the Republican Revolt of 1994 and the huge defeat of his health care reform package. At that time, then-ABC White House correspondent Brit Hume asked Mr. Clinton if the "Presidency was still relevant." Clinton moved to the political center, worked on reforms with the GOP majority in the House, and went on to win a big victory in 1996. There are no more elections for Mr. Obama but November 2014 looms very large for him. His good fortune is that voters are not very fond of the Republicans either - as I will show in my next post.

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