Rasmussen: Obama’s speech on Libya didn’t move the needle

posted at 2:15 pm on March 30, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier today, I pointed to two polls showing new lows for Barack Obama on job approval, leadership, and re-elect numbers.  In doing so, I noted that both Quinnipiac and Gallup conducted their survey prior to the President’s speech on Monday night and that Obama might get a bump after belatedly explaining his new military adventure ten days after starting it.  Today, Rasmussen released a new poll showing that Obama didn’t get a bump at all in a survey taken both before and after the speech, and in some ways support has eroded for the mission:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 43% of Likely U.S. Voters rate the Obama administration’s response to the Libya situation as good or excellent, marking little change from two previous surveys. Thirty percent (30%) give the administration poor marks, up from 21% earlier this month before the president committed U.S. forces to Libya. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Forty percent (40%) of voters felt at that time that the administration was doing a good or excellent job responding to the political crisis in Libya. Last week, with the U.S. military actively involved in Libya, 41% rated the Obama administration’s response as good or excellent, but 28% said it was doing a poor job.

The numbers also worsened slightly for the president from last week when voters are asked if Libya is vital to U.S. national security these days. Twenty-seven percent (27%) of voters say yes, while 48% say no, up six points from a week ago. Twenty-four percent (24%) remain undecided.

The survey took place on Monday and Tuesday nights, and Rasmussen reports that there was no substantial difference in response between the two.  If Obama had a bump in store for his military mission in Libya, one would have expected to see an increase in support immediately afterward.  Without that kind of bump, it appears that Obama failed to make his case, although it can also be said that he hasn’t damaged it immediately, either.

The internals look particularly bad for Obama.  He gets high marks from fellow Democrats on his handling of the crisis, 72/24, better than what was seen in Quinnipiac and Gallup polls earlier, but significantly more of them say they’re not paying attention to the issue (18%, as opposed to 11% of GOP and independent voters). Republicans predictably give him almost exactly the opposite rating, 21/72.  Independents are lined up almost 2-1 in disapproval, 33/65, with 43% giving the lowest rating of “poor”.

So far, Obama has also failed to make the case that Libya is a “vital national security interest,” either.  A bare plurality of Democrats agree, 39/32 with 29% saying they’re not sure.  Majorities of both Republicans (20/57) and independents (22/57) disagree.  Along ideological grounds, all self-described demos also disagree: 23/53 for conservatives, 29/48 for moderates, and 34/38 for liberals, leading to the 27/48 overall number.

The failure of Obama to build support from the opening moments of Odyssey Dawn has left the American electorate skeptical of the mission, and skeptical of Obama’s leadership.  The 43/53 rating on leadership in this crisis does not bode well for Obama’s political future, especially if this turns into a stalemated civil war.


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