Obama at 50-50?
posted at 9:19 am on March 24, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Has Obama hit the end of the honeymoon at 60 days in office? According to a new Zogby poll, Obama has hit 50% in his latest job-approval polls. The Boston Herald covers the details offered by the pollster:
Pollster John Zogby said his poll out today will show Americans split on the president’s performance. He said the score factors out to “about 50-50.”
Some polls show Obama coasting with a 65 percent job approval, but not in Zogby’s tally.
“The numbers are going down,” Zogby told the Herald. “It’s not because of the gaffes, but a combination of high expectations and that things aren’t moving fast enough with the economy.”
The Herald also spoke with a communications professor at Boston University, who believes that Obama has mismanaged his media appearances. Toby Berkovitz says Obama has become overexposed and needs to be seen working rather than campaigning. “I wonder when the public will say ‘Instead of being in front of the camera, be in front of a spreadsheet.’ ”
A 50% approval rating would be a stunning drop, but this is Zogby. His results tend to have more significant swings than other pollsters. He does get some things correct, but those of us who watch polls for any significant length of time usually like to see if other polls show the same trends.
Rasmussen has. Over the last few weeks, Scott Rasmussen has repeatedly shown a rapid rate in dissatisfaction over Obama’s performance, and a smaller but still significant decline in approval. Yesterday’s job-approval rating on the daily tracking poll has Obama at 56%, not the 50% shown by Zogby, but that’s down from the high 60s at the end of January. Also, the gap between strong approval and strong disapproval has gone from over 30 points to just 5.
If Zogby’s right and it’s all about the economics, then a rebound in jobs would help. Unfortunately, jobs are a lagging indicator of an economic recovery, and we haven’t seen the leading indicators yet, as Obama’s policies have mostly kept capital on the sidelines. The AIG bonus controversy, which Democrats hoped to use to lever populist outrage against capital, blew up in their faces and convinced capital investors to shelter themselves from the storm. Zogby may or may not have overstated the decline, but he’s got the direction right.