His numbers are down across the board since last month, so technically there’s a trend here. But not really. The problem with WaPo’s polls is that they’ve been using samples that skew overwhelmingly Democratic; this month they finally bowed to ideological trends and cleaned up their act, reducing the partisan gap from a ludicrous 14-point spread in November to a more respectable six. (In fact, if leaners are included, the parties are almost even.) So what explains the new bad numbers? Is it a genuine downturn or simply greater GOP representation in the sample?

Let’s let the independents tell us.

Such numbers aren’t unexpected; Ronald Reagan, in similar economic straits, dropped to 52 percent overall approval at this point in his presidency. But it’s not just the economy: Fifty-three percent also disapprove of Obama’s work on health care, and the public by 51-44 percent now opposes the reform package in Congress — both more than half for the first time in ABC/Post polls.

There are further challenges. Obama’s approval rating among independents, the crucial center of national politics, is 43 percent, a new low and down from a peak of 67 percent in the heady days a month after he took office. He’s down by 9 points this month among moderates.

More than 60 percent of indies disapprove of his handling of health care and the economy. Meanwhile, the overall 44/51 split is the widest gap yet on ObamaCare and the first time it’s been statistically significant in the WaPo poll. The breakdown:

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Incredibly, even among the uninsured, there’s an even split on the question of whether their health care would be better after reform. But here’s my favorite data point. How much do you think the left loves Lieberman now?

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Sixty-three percent support the recently deceased Medicare buy-in. Then again, majorities also consistently say they support the public option even though most of them don’t understand it, so it’s anyone’s guess what that “support” means in practice. Remember: It’s amazing what a follow-up question about trade-offs can do to the numbers when polling on ObamaCare. Which probably explains why one wasn’t asked here.

Via Greg Hengler, here’s The One at this afternoon’s post-huddle presser insisting that he welcomes scrutiny from the press, never mind the fact that he initially called for a bill to be pushed through Congress back before the national debate ever got going in August. Exit question: Will that 63% number on the Medicare buy-in embolden congressional liberals to oppose Reid’s bill? Stay strong, Russ Feingold!