Is Obama’s job approval rating (finally) starting to slide?

posted at 4:01 pm on June 20, 2013 by Allahpundit

Today’s new Pew poll has him steady at +6, but feast on your eyes on RCP’s poll tracker. Poll averages are almost always more accurate than individual polls and right now RCP has him at -3.3 and apparently sinking. (This morning Rasmussen had him at -7.) Here’s what it looks like over the past month. The black line is approval, red is disapproval:

rcp

I’m not sure what explains that temporary spike in disapproval in the middle. The IRS scandal broke on May 10th and the first of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations, the leak of the FISA order targeting Verizon, was published on June 5. The ballooning disapproval at the end of May might simply have been the cumulative effect of Scandalmania catching up to him, compounded by the news about the DOJ snooping on James Rosen (which came out on May 20th). But then that raises the question of why O’s disapproval just as suddenly dipped and returned to normal-ish. I’m not sure. Maybe all we’re looking at here is the product of a few outlier polls at the end of the month.

Anyway, we’re concerned with the current disapproval spike, which has already lasted longer than the one at the end of the May. What’s driving it? It has to be the NSA stuff, right? The IRS scandal has slipped off the front page, and in any case, that was never a true “bipartisan” furor. Most Democrats will acknowledge that it’s wrong and shouldn’t have happened, but rarely do partisans on either side feel abiding outrage over an offense to partisans on the other. Beyond that, no one’s tied O himself directly to the scandal. Accusations against him usually boil down to him having “set the tone” by demagoging tea partiers occasionally, but it’s hard to build Democratic outrage over that given that many of them hate tea partiers too. The NSA revelations are different because there’s no obvious partisan angle to it and because the buck does indeed stop with The One. We know from the polling that many Dems will go straight into the tank to defend him on massive data-mining, but not all will. In particular, the Hopenchange generation of young voters may be disappointed:

In May, President Obama enjoyed a 53/44 approval rating. But the latest CNN poll shows that the numbers have nearly reversed, now standing at 45/54. The most interesting aspect of this poll is the significant drop in support from Americans between the ages of 18 and 34, a voting bloc that helped propel President Obama to the White House in 2008 and to re-election last year.

In May, President Obama held a 63/34 approval rating among this age group. But in June, that his approval rating with young voters was underwater, at 48/50. That’s a 15-point drop.

In an interview with CNN on Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) attributed the drop in support among young voters to the recent NSA scandal and explained that it gives Republicans an opportunity for outreach.

That’s just one poll, and smaller samples of particular age groups necessarily have larger margins of error, but there’s other recent data floating around out there that suggests there’s something to it. O talked a good game on civil liberties in 2008 and now some of the younger idealists who appreciated him for it are disillusioned. Plus, for all the talk lately about how Snowden’s hurt his cause by wittingly or unwittingly making the NSA story partially a story about him, it may be that younger Americans identify with him to some extent. He’s under 30, tech-savvy, idealistic, and took a gigantic risk in exposing the NSA documents. The story of the past two weeks is, in part, a story about whether Barack Obama or Edward Snowden has more credibility on government surveillance. The verdict among young voters may not be what The One wants.

The big question: Does any of this matter? Sean Trende points me to this post yesterday by John Sides arguing that yes, of course the president’s job approval matters. It always matters. It matters in 2014 — if it stays low — because Democrats will need a popular president to help them turn out their base. It matters in 2016 — if it stays low — because it’ll be easier for the Democratic nominee to run on the record of a popular president than to run against the record of an unpopular one. And of course it matters right now because a popular president has more leverage in getting what he wants from Congress. Good points all, but as for 2016, Hillary is a sui generis figure on the American political landscape. I’m not sure Obama’s popularity at that point will matter as much to her as it would to any other Democrat. Bill Clinton’s pretty popular, isn’t he? Think his name will be invoked by Team Hillary on the trail? As for O’s popularity right now, he used to be much more popular and Republicans in Congress didn’t care a whit about it. The stimulus passed in 2009 when he was at the height of his Hopenchange influence and he managed to nail down three GOP votes in the Senate. Even if his numbers rebounded “strongly,” he’s probably looking at 55/45 at best. Which Republican votes are flipping to do O’s bidding against that backdrop, with conservative grassroots voters gearing up for the midterms? You might argue that this is more about losing Democrats than winning Republicans, but Dems are firmly behind his big legislative initiatives like immigration reform and background checks. They have an incentive to vote for those because they poll well individually, irrespective of Obama’s job approval rating.

The one convincing point is that an unpopular O could hurt his party next year. True, but … he’s on the verge of a big legislative victory now, isn’t he? Our Republican friends in the Senate are weeks away from giving him 70+ votes for the Gang of Eight’s crappy amnesty bill. If you think the GOP rather than the Democrats will get the lion’s share of credit if it passes Congress, you’re kidding yourself as deeply as the Republican leadership is. Assume that it passes, and further assume that the president who signs it into law (and who’s quietly helping to shepherd it through Congress behind the scenes) gets applause for having helped make it happen. Immigration reform is popular, so it’s safe to assume that O’s approval rating will get a boost from passage. Toss that on the pile with all the other reasons to vote for the Gang of Eight bill — it helps Obama politically at a moment when he’s in a bit of a jam. Fantastic.


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You will still have a large amount of people who will approve of him simply because he is black.

The Notorious G.O.P on June 20, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Toss that on the pile with all the other reasons to vote for the Gang of Eight bill — it helps Obama politically at a moment when he’s in a bit of a jam. Fantastic.

GOP: Too stupid to win.

BobMbx on June 20, 2013 at 4:06 PM

People are slowly starting to realize that they have wasted a decade on this chump.

can_con on June 20, 2013 at 4:06 PM

The big question: Does any of this matter?

It absolutely matters….provided the GOP doesn’t undermine all of it by passing amnesty. Assuming it dies in the House, then Obama’s negative favorability rating coupled with the looming disaster of Obamacare(which sure as hell ain’t gonna help his numbers) will set the Republicans up for big gains in 2014. They have a decent shot even of retaking the Senate. Again, provided they don’t F it up by ramming through a bill their base is heavily opposed to.

Doughboy on June 20, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Wait isn’t PEW still quite smitten with 0?

Bmore on June 20, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Thanks to the squishy gop

cmsinaz on June 20, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Its Mariachi Ocho, not gang of eight.

Bmore on June 20, 2013 at 4:11 PM

I’m not sure what explains that temporary spike in disapproval in the middle.

Bush ?
Tsunami?
ATMs?
The Sun?

burrata on June 20, 2013 at 4:11 PM

THe reason his poll numbers are dropping is because Pravda and Izvestia are actually reporting some news about him. Not to worry, they’re heading back into his back-pocket as we speak.

bflat879 on June 20, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Wait isn’t PEW still quite smitten with 0?

Bmore on June 20, 2013 at 4:07 PM

I saw that too. But I think the main thing is Obama’s agenda is most popular in Washington –with both democrats and republicans fully on board.

Looking forward to Rubio teaming up with Schumer on single-payer health care.

earlgrey133 on June 20, 2013 at 4:12 PM

There aren’t enough distractions yet.

Barry has got to get a huge “Wag the Dog” event going this summer. Maybe two or three.

hawkeye54 on June 20, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Doughboy on June 20, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Well, I think he’s also going to be increasingly dissed by foreign leaders who have taken his measure by now. That is a different type of negative impact, but, will be very noticable.

a capella on June 20, 2013 at 4:13 PM

I guess I’m the outlier. For me his puny stock began falling when he claimed being a community organizer as his best resume’ qualifier. And that was in early 2008.

DanMan on June 20, 2013 at 4:13 PM

He may get a boost in popularity if this goes national.

If you are robbing Peter to pay Paul, you can always count on the support of Paul.

iurockhead on June 20, 2013 at 4:18 PM

“Tear down these glass walls”…he so missed his opportunity in Berlin.

It was a perfect picture for the eunuchy cat. They should have kept him.

The only thing missing was that he didn’t ask a Marine to hold the umbrella for him.

Schadenfreude on June 20, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Well, I think he’s also going to be increasingly dissed by foreign leaders who have taken his measure by now. That is a different type of negative impact, but, will be very noticable.

a capella on June 20, 2013 at 4:13 PM

That was the fate of Carter. The only foreign leaders who had any respect for him were of the Robert Mugabe ilk.

BobMbx on June 20, 2013 at 4:19 PM

You will still have a large amount of people who will approve of him simply because he is black.

The Notorious G.O.P on June 20, 2013 at 4:03 PM

You racist, teabaggin’ winger. The NSA, the IRS and MSNBC will be targeting you shortly. /

HiJack on June 20, 2013 at 4:26 PM

I wonder what ALT thinks.

Midas on June 20, 2013 at 4:27 PM

The only thing missing was that he didn’t ask a Marine Nazi to hold the umbrella for him.

Schadenfreude on June 20, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Fixed.

HiJack on June 20, 2013 at 4:28 PM

I can’t wait for Hillary to run. She may well win, though I pray she doesn’t (and I don’t believe she will) but the campaign itself is going to be a politically crazed Clintonian spectacle. Entertainment of the highest order.

MTF on June 20, 2013 at 4:28 PM

What’s Hillary’s approval rating?

If you’re talking 2016, that’s the number hardcore Democrats care about right now — Obama could sink like a stone and they would only care marginally, as long as Mrs. Clinton’s numbers stay high enough to get elected 41 months from now.

jon1979 on June 20, 2013 at 4:29 PM

When I see torches and pitchforks on the South lawn, then I’ll take heart.

Cleombrotus on June 20, 2013 at 4:32 PM

I’ll be convinced when the door on Marine One opens in-flight.

tom daschle concerned on June 20, 2013 at 4:36 PM

The big question: Does any of this matter?

No.

Besides, at this point, what difference does it make?

BacaDog on June 20, 2013 at 4:38 PM

[Comment Deleted. User Terminated]
NSA
The Notorious G.O.P on June 20, 2013 at 4:03 PM

BacaDog on June 20, 2013 at 4:40 PM

I’ll be convinced when the door on Marine One opens in-flight.

tom daschle concerned on June 20, 2013 at 4:36 PM

What? You don’t think angels would appear to carry Him to earth?

Most of the media and most of the Democrats do.

Racist!

My reactionary friend asked me to remind everyone to gripe about the coming $100 million trip to Africa and how many poor blacks here could be helped with that money.

He also asked if someone in congress could ask the Africans how much more they wanted to keep the whole bunch there permanently.

IlikedAUH2O on June 20, 2013 at 4:42 PM

It matters in 2016 — if it stays low — because it’ll be easier for the Democratic nominee to run on the record of a popular president than to run against the record of an unpopular one. And of course it matters right now because a popular president has more leverage in getting what he wants from Congress. Good points all, but as for 2016, Hillary is a sui generis figure on the American political landscape. I’m not sure Obama’s popularity at that point will matter as much to her as it would to any other Democrat. Bill Clinton’s pretty popular, isn’t he? Think his name will be invoked by Team Hillary on the trail?

If Obama’s approval numbers are below 40% in 2016, Hillary will try to run away from Obama like Sarah Palin ran away from George W. Bush in 2008.

Steve Z on June 20, 2013 at 4:42 PM

No one, most especially the democrats, cares about his approval rating. They are focused on getting Hillary’s back up into the safe zone for 2016.

Yeah. Like there’s even going to be an election. Suckers.

totherightofthem on June 20, 2013 at 4:43 PM

How Obama won like Putin and Chavez, and is illegitimate in his second term.

Schadenfreude on June 20, 2013 at 4:45 PM

I’ll be convinced when the door on Marine One opens in-flight.
tom daschle concerned on June 20, 2013 at 4:36 PM

Or the doors of Leavenworth slam shut.

Cleombrotus on June 20, 2013 at 4:45 PM

‘Toons of the Day: O: ‘I’m A Snooper Freak, A Snooper Freak, I’m Snoopy-Freaky, Yow!’

Resist We Much on June 20, 2013 at 4:44 PM

“Ich bin ein Snooper” — in Austrian

Schadenfreude on June 20, 2013 at 4:46 PM

totherightofthem on June 20, 2013 at 4:43 PM

Thank you, President Obama.

One of the reasons I shall always feel positive toward our president is that he postponed our getting Hillary until I was a few years closer to my grave.

IlikedAUH2O on June 20, 2013 at 4:46 PM

I had to look up sui generis.

avagreen on June 20, 2013 at 4:50 PM

I’m not sure Obama’s popularity at that point will matter as much to her as it would to any other Democrat. Bill Clinton’s pretty popular, isn’t he? Think his name will be invoked by Team Hillary on the trail?

Mr. Ben Ghazi’s name just might be invoked on the trail….

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 20, 2013 at 4:54 PM

I’m not sure Obama’s popularity at that point will matter as much to her as it would to any other Democrat. Bill Clinton’s pretty popular, isn’t he? Think his name will be invoked by Team Hillary on the trail?

Now, now. Just remember how much credit Republicans were given for the Civil Rights Acts!

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 20, 2013 at 4:55 PM

Good analysis, Allah. I think it’s correct in every way. Talk to a liberal about Gitmo, drones, recent military intervention in the Middle East and NSA spying, and they’ll all agree that these are bad things. They are so tickled by Obamacare, though, that they are willing to overlook practically everything else. This amnesty legislation will have a similar effect; it will be considered a major triumph for Obama and will allow him to be forgiven on all other matters, the thinking being: “Yes, he’s not perfect, but at least we have Obamacare and amnesty, and we wouldn’t have had that with a Republican.”

I also agree with your point that liberals aren’t angry for the recent IRS overreach. Privately, they’re pleased that Tea Partiers got what they believe was coming to them.

As for Fast and Furious, snooping on Rosen, Benghazi, and five or six other smaller scandals, those aren’t even in the general public’s consciousness. Out of sight, out of mind.

Don’t forget also that a huge amount of the electorate doesn’t care about scandals, foreign policy, the Constitution or really anything except who will give them free phones, food stamps and birth control pills and who will forgive their student debts the fastest.

Burke on June 20, 2013 at 4:56 PM

Mr. Ben Ghazi’s name just might be invoked on the trail….

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 20, 2013 at 4:54 PM

How many blacks will vote for her simply because she killed 4 white men ?

burrata on June 20, 2013 at 4:56 PM

YOU are raped in the sunlight.

Wake up Americans!!!

Schadenfreude on June 20, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Toss that on the pile with all the other reasons to vote for the Gang of Eight bill — it helps Obama politically at a moment when he’s in a bit of a jam. Fantastic.

Always bet on the stupidity of the Rs.

Schadenfreude on June 20, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Schadenfreude on June 20, 2013 at 4:57 PM

3 out of 4 on that panel wouldn’t have a clue about the Tea Party and I’m not that sure about Goldberg either

DanMan on June 20, 2013 at 5:04 PM

Yes, DanMan – the raping from these goons…

…then they get a bonus…is what I meant.

Schadenfreude on June 20, 2013 at 5:09 PM

But if Hillary is a “sui generis” (self-made) figure in American politics, that might not help her in 2016. In 2008, when she ran in the primary against Obama, she was a second-term Senator, as well as a former First Lady, and she was touting her readiness to answer a 3 AM phone call.

But what is her most recent experience NOW? Secretary of State when our Ambassador gets killed in Libya–she didn’t answer the phone when it rang at 10 PM EDT, then she resigned and asked Congress on national TV what difference does it make? Will Hillary really try to remind voters in 2016 how wonderful things were in the 1990′s, while hoping they forget what she did only four years ago?

Steve Z on June 20, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Poll averages are almost always more accurate than individual polls and right now RCP has him at -3.3 and apparently sinking.

*double sigh*

Didn’t we go through this nonsense almost ten months ago? The clown’s got his asss glued to the Oval Office seat for another 1,309 days ~~ except when he is fund-raising and golfing.

Let it go folks. Let it go.

The War Planner on June 20, 2013 at 5:16 PM

My kid just graduated High School… trust me, NOBODY likes Obama. He’s a laughing stock amongst most of those kids, None of them can find jobs, college is too expensive and they don’t want to serve under him in the Military. Its gonna be a long 4 years of stagnation, hopelessness and betrayal.

Key West Reader on June 20, 2013 at 5:17 PM

He’ll always have his 47%.

Rational Thought on June 20, 2013 at 5:19 PM

What does it matter? Dingy Harry is really running (ruining?) the country. He isn’t popular either, All that matters is that he is popular in Nevada. Of course, that is because the entire state is on the take. Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if Nevada would secede.

Old Country Boy on June 20, 2013 at 5:20 PM

My kid just graduated High School… trust me, NOBODY likes Obama. He’s a laughing stock amongst most of those kids, None of them can find jobs, college is too expensive and they don’t want to serve under him in the Military. Its gonna be a long 4 years of stagnation, hopelessness and betrayal.

Key West Reader on June 20, 2013 at 5:17 PM

..now THAT is a day-brightener!

The real deal will be watching the gymnastics that Madam Cankles goes through running AGAINST Obama and his crowd — trying to win the (R) vote with “Trust Me”. Of course, the mirror-fogging, mouth-breathing “gimme, gimme” crowd will just love the holy crap out of the bread-and-circuses when that old hag runs against Rubio in 2016.

The War Planner on June 20, 2013 at 5:24 PM

How obama scrooms you, without a warrant.

Schadenfreude on June 20, 2013 at 5:25 PM

The fool of the world and his azz-dwelling excusers.

Busted by RWM on another thread

@ChuckTodd blames O’s bomb in Berlin on the heat.
O’s Berlin speech on 19 June 2013: 86°F;
O’s Berlin speech on 28 July 2008: 91°FResist We Much on June 20, 2013 at 3:44 PM

Schadenfreude on June 20, 2013 at 5:34 PM

ALLAHPUNDIT

Always seeing the cup half empty…

It is going to hurt Clinton because both of them are strong supporters the NSA’s actions, are interventionist (heck they are both Neo-Cons on foreign policy), and no matter what Hillary and her fans think she is tied with this administration’s scandals on so many levels.

Also people under thirty were kids in the 1990s and this will be even more true in 2016. They are going to view both Clinton’s as old geezers. There is nothing revolutionary about an old white woman telling them what to do.

Rand Paul on the other hand is dangerous…Did not ancient McCain say he was. Remember when you were under 30…remember what you thought was cool? Obama was cool, now he is not, and his party is going send a very un-cool old white woman (and a screechy one at that) to try to win their votes.

See…cup half full…

William Eaton on June 20, 2013 at 5:51 PM

Let me add this is why I am happy about what Snowden did, even if I don’t like the man himself. Yes we may have been hurt in terms of foreign policy and maybe intelligence will be lost, but the price is worth it for stopping the totalitarian Obama steamroller from convincing a generation of young people that big out of control government is good. They have had their faith shaken in that belief, and nothing can get it back.

Snowden saved America the same way Daniel Shays unwittingly did. I had been using the John Brown analogy, but I now think Shays is a better example. He caused the United States to create a constitution, even though that had nothing to do with Shays’s reasons or objectives for causing the rebellion. Snowden planted the seeds into to minds of youth in this country that big government is not to be trusted.

That is worth whatever price we have to pay for Snowden’s actions.

William Eaton on June 20, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Sorry, doesn’t matter kids.

We always knew this was going to happen after he won. Obama’s poll numbers were in the toilet for years except for a spike after he personally killed Osama. They didn’t get there by accident, they didn’t come back up by magic. They came up because of an election.

And afterward they were going to go back down regardless of the outcome. The press can’t cover for him 365. It’s no mystery that all these scandals broke after the election. The economy was – gasp! – not actually getting better.

The election is what mattered. They know it, we know it. There’s no hope to be found here. As long as they can muster their armies every 4th November and beat ours, they’ll govern like it, and until the takers don’t make up 47% of the electorate, there’s no chance of that happening. And to the extent that number is going to change, it’s going up, not down, see: the efforts of Marco Rubio.

HitNRun on June 20, 2013 at 6:47 PM

The Democratic Party politburo is going to throw Obama under the bus in order to protect Hillary. Watch. Obama is no longer really of any use to them. He can’t run again. If they have to leave him hanging in the breeze to protect a run by Hillary in 2016, they will. She is the only candidate they have, she’s their only hope.

crosspatch on June 20, 2013 at 7:02 PM

Is Obama’s job approval rating (finally) starting to slide?

What difference, at this point, does it make?

Dear God, the Liberal-leaning DC crowd is smothering our children’s/grandchildren’s futures in the bleepin’ crib…

And we’re following polls? {facepalm}

socalcon on June 20, 2013 at 7:04 PM

And we’re following polls? {facepalm}

socalcon on June 20, 2013 at 7:04 PM

Agreed.

And no one should ever believe that “disapproval” means “prefer an alternative”.

We found that out last November.

Polling Obama and deciphering its meaning is a fool’s errand.

Carnac on June 21, 2013 at 1:20 PM