Gallup: Obama losing edge on spending, deficit
posted at 12:15 pm on June 8, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Gallup’s latest polling shows that the American electorate has begun to lose patience with Obamanomics. While Barack Obama continues to maintain high personal approval ratings, his budgetary policies have lost the majority. For the first time, Obama has more people disapproving of his spending and deficit plans than approving:
While 67% of Americans view President Barack Obama favorably, his overall job approval rating and his ratings on specific areas are less positive. At the low end of the spectrum, only 45% of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of federal spending, and 46% of his handling of the federal budget deficit. …
Obama’s job approval rating for his handling of the economy has dropped from 59% in February to 55% today, while his disapproval rating has risen by 12 points, from 30% to 42%. The fact that Obama’s approval on the economy has become more negative over this time period is of interest, given that Gallup’s measure of consumer mood has become more positive between March and the current time. …
Gallup has measured Obama’s handling of the federal budget deficit only twice — once in March and again in the current survey — and his ratings have become slightly more negative over that time. The percentage of Americans approving has dropped by three points, while the percentage disapproving has increased by four points.
Thus far, Americans still give Obama majority approval in other areas of his presidency, but all of those approval ratings have begun to erode. That appears to be the normal end of the honeymoon period, as Americans stop patting themselves on the back for having elected Obama, and as they see more of how Obama puts his policies into action. No one expected Obama to maintain his high approval ratings across the board, and crises take their toll on popularity in any case, as all of Obama’s predecessors could tell him.
However, the spending and deficit numbers matter a great deal. Obama has put most of his focus on these two areas, and the future of his presidency and his grand plans to reorganize the American economy depend on steady support in these precise areas. He’s not getting it. A plurality opposes him on his handling of the deficit, which might explain the Goolsbee spin this weekend, attempting to blame Bush for a budget created by Congressional Democrats when they bypassed Bush at the end of his term.
Even worse, a majority now opposes his spending practices, 51%-45%. The latter number comes closer and closer to the base level of his own party, which means Obama is now losing independents on spending. This shows the big opportunity for the GOP in next year’s midterms, when the lack of economic progress from Porkulus will become even more obvious. If they can focus on nothing else other than runaway spending and massive deficits, and the dangers of allowing both to run unchecked in a Democratic-run DC, the GOP can beat a personally popular President and challenge for control of the House, if not the Senate, where the numbers are more difficult.