WSJ/NBC pre-SOTU poll puts Obama approval at 43%

posted at 12:41 pm on January 28, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Will Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech end up being a big non-sequitur? According to early leaks from the White House about the speech, Obama intends to focus on income inequality, infrastructural spending, and climate change.  According to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, Obama may as well be talking Greek in relation to the priorities of the electorate:

President Barack Obama will lay out his agenda for the year on Tuesday night before a nation increasingly worried about his abilities, dissatisfied with the economy and fearful for the country’s future, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds. …

At the same time, the public supports many of the themes and policy ideas Mr. Obama looks set to emphasize in his annual State of the Union address to Congress. Large majorities of respondents said they want the White House and lawmakers to focus on job creation and early-childhood education, and a slimmer majority favored increasing the minimum wage. …

White House aides say the president also plans to use the nationally televised address to make a case for increased efforts—through executive action, if necessary—to expand hiring, infrastructure development, job training and educational opportunities, while taking moves to combat climate change.

Nearly three-quarters of poll respondents said the president should also make a top priority of reducing the federal budget deficit, an objective that Mr. Obama hasn’t emphasized recently. Deficit reduction ranked second as a priority, after job creation, among a list of issues presented to respondents.

In other words, Obama will be talking about greater government intervention and spending just at the time when more than 70% of Americans want him to start working on job creation and deficit reduction. Expect some bones tossed in those directions, but the emphasis will clearly be on income inequality and his frustration with Congress, a frustration that is largely self-inflicted. Rather than address the priorities shared by most Americans, Obama will once again use the national stage to complain about his own political predicament, one largely of his own making.

Small wonder Obama goes into this SOTU with the second-worst sixth-year numbers in history. His job approval level is 43/51. The poll also shows that Obama’s personal numbers haven’t recovered much at all, with his 42/44 almost identical to December’s 42/46 and October’s 41/45. Last summer, those numbers were 48/40. It’s worse on expectations for his performance in 2014, though, with 40% either optimistic or hopeful and 59% uncertain or pessimistic.

Perhaps in part that’s due to his choice of issues these days. In the poll, 91% of respondents want job creation prioritized, and 74% want deficit reduction. Only 45% want “reducing income inequality between the rich and the poor,” which comes in fourth from the bottom in the list of issues and priorities — above climate change, another theme in tonight’s speech, which comes in dead last at 27%.

In my column for The Week, I point out that even on these issues, Obama’s record indicates that we’ll be hearing the same old thing … with the same old results:

Once again, a “new” focus just brings up old questions. The economy has been in technical recovery since June 2009, and Obama’s economic policies have been in place since the Democrat-controlled Congress authorized an $800 billion stimulus plan in February 2009. The trajectory of the American economy has produced more inequality since then, and not less.

For instance, the civilian workforce participation rate measures the employment status of the U.S. compared to dynamic population. When Obama took office in the middle of the Great Recession meltdown, that measure stood at 65.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In June 2009, at the technical end of the recession, it was still 65.7 percent. By February 2010, the point at which the White House insisted on using as a baseline for stimulus success, it had fallen to 64.9 percent, the lowest since Ronald Reagan’s fifth State of the Union speech in January 1986. Right now, that measure stands two full percentage points below that at 62.8 percent, the lowest level since Jimmy Carter’s second year in office.

And let’s not forget that the Obama administration’s biggest legislative victory — the Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare — was supposed to address inequality in the health sector’s one-sixth of the economy. Instead, it has so far tossed more people out of insurance than it has provided coverage, has caused premiums to rocket upward as insurers absorb costlier enrollees, and has featured incompetence and unaccountability throughout HHS and the White House. Obama will want to separate ObamaCare from income inequality, but it’s the same effort, and highlights the lack of competence for this administration or any other to carry out this kind of reform, either legislatively or through unilateral executive action. …

How does a second-term president sell the same old reform again for the sixth year in a row, while his policy failures on reform drag down his credibility?

Expect the media to extoll the speech, but in terms of the rest of the country, Obama will be talking Greek. And after pushing the Lie of the Year 2013 since 2008, don’t expect anyone to take even that Greek too seriously.


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How does a second-term president sell the same old reform again for the sixth year in a row, while his policy failures on reform drag down his credibility?

He meets with the MSM off-record and says “sell my same old reform again”. And they run off verily and spread the goodness that is Obama.

There’s no secret to this.

BobMbx on January 28, 2014 at 12:44 PM

“I won.”

sandee on January 28, 2014 at 12:46 PM

I’m hoping for some good meatloaf recipes.

rogerb on January 28, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Not going to watch. I’m just not interested in watching trained baboons jumping up and clapping on cue.

Happy Nomad on January 28, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Why even bother with this moronic tradition…

PatriotRider on January 28, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Simply fantastic – must be read.

Thomas Jefferson, ever watchful against monarchical pretensions in the federal apparatus, discontinued the practice of delivering the State of the Union in person before Congress, instead submitting a written report. For a blessed century, Jefferson’s example was followed, and, despite civil war and the occasional financial panic, the nation thrived without an ersatz Caesar to rule over it…

in the hope of staking out some prime center-aisle real estate that they might be seen on television, if only for a second or two, being greeted by the national pontifex maximus as he makes his stately procession into the chamber.

Schadenfreude on January 28, 2014 at 12:51 PM

This is a 13 point fudge on the bias scale.

Delsa on January 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM

NBC did this “poll”. Which means it probably has a healthy oversample of Dems and Indies.

I’ll stick with Gallup Daily Tracking.

Del Dolemonte on January 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM

It will be worse than the Grammy’s…

PatriotRider on January 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM

I’d love for the GOP to chant “You Lied! Insurance Died!” in unison over and over toward Obama, every time the Dem’s and the Media rise to applaud him.

Can you imagine the look on his face?

Vanceone on January 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM

I’r rather stand out in -20F naked for an hour…

PatriotRider on January 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM

May the GOP all stand up and give him the finger…

PatriotRider on January 28, 2014 at 12:53 PM

And these same 43% are people who you can ask “Have you changed
your underwear in the last 24 hours, will say I don’t know”

ToddPA on January 28, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Even better, when Obama gives his lines about ruling by dictatorial fiat, they should all get up and start chanting “Seig Heil! Sieg Heil!” and clicking their heels together and giving ye old salute from Germany.

Vanceone on January 28, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Expect the media to extoll the speech

That’s all a majority of the country will know as they form opinions. We’ll never win the game until we level the tilted playing field.

MT on January 28, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Real men

Schadenfreude on January 28, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Not watching. Obama’s previous SotU performances used up my lifetime quota for self abuse.

ElectricPhase on January 28, 2014 at 12:58 PM

When contemplating the “works” and “deeds” of our horrifically awful preznit Earflaps McPreezy, I think he is best summed up by a line from the movie Forrest Gump:

Stupid is, as stupid stupidy stupid stupid stupid.

Or, better yet from the same movie:

Like is like a box of chocolates,

you never know when an imbecile is going to be elected president and ruin your country- except of course if you have a functioning brain and voted against the chainsmoking, halitosis ridden, mincy ponce twice.

Yeah pivot some more tonight Soetero, you incompetent twice baked halfwit.

GrassMudHorsey on January 28, 2014 at 1:01 PM

obama is a 2-year old in mind, a tiny “I won’t play with you no more” spoiled azzhole.

It is a permanent dark spot on the land to have elevated such, ever.

He will hold back generations of really talented/deserving men and women.

Schadenfreude on January 28, 2014 at 1:01 PM

I hope the whole speech is on climate change. There’s nothing quite as obtuse as telling America they’re anti-science for doubting global warming after a month of epically cold weather. Then again, I guess that’s why they call it climate change; it’s hard to be wrong when any possible weather condition is supposed to prove you’re right.

MinnesotaSlinger on January 28, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Kevn D. Williamson at National Review says it best :

The annual State of the Union pageant is a hideous, dispiriting, ugly, monotonous, un-American, un-republican, anti-democratic, dreary, backward, monarchical, retch-inducing, depressing, shameful, crypto-imperial display of official self-aggrandizement and piteous toadying, a black Mass during which every unholy order of teacup totalitarian and cringing courtier gathers under the towering dome of a faux-Roman temple to listen to a speech with no content given by a man with no content, to rise and to be seated as is called for by the order of worship — it is a wonder they have not started genuflecting — with one wretched representative of their number squirreled away in some well-upholstered Washington hidey-hole in order to preserve the illusion that those gathered constitute a special class of humanity without whom we could not live.

Tonight is the spectacle of the tyrannical ruling class.

MichaelGabriel on January 28, 2014 at 1:05 PM

This is a 13 point fudge on the bias scale.

Delsa on January 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Often more than that lately. I cannot access the article to get the sample.

Ed, can you please post the sample? Is this like a couple recent polls where they sampled 54% dems or dem leaners and Zero’s polls were in the high 30′s?

Zero is planning to sign an EO requiring a 39% increase in the minimum wage for government contractors today. He has no idea of the consequences of that illegal act. Only the house has that power, not the executive.

dogsoldier on January 28, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Who will watch?

BuckeyeSam on January 28, 2014 at 1:11 PM

I’r rather stand out in -20F naked for an hour…

PatriotRider on January 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Funny, thats exactly what political enemies of Stalin had to do.

BobMbx on January 28, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Make yourself a little sign that says “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” or “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan”, tape it to your TV, and take that into consideration of anything that comes out of Obama’s mouth tonight.

Kevin71 on January 28, 2014 at 1:22 PM

It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even think I can enjoy getting half-lit playing the SOTU drinking game anymore. The pig’s voice even ruins booze at this point.

hollygolightly on January 28, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Kevin71 on January 28, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Audience members should hold up signs that say:

“IF YOU LIKE YOUR PRESIDENT, YOU CAN KEEP YOUR PRESIDENT 43% APPROVE”

BobMbx on January 28, 2014 at 1:24 PM

“Income inequality”?

What does that even MEAN? Honestly, I don’t think the left will be satisfied until we are all equally poor.

idalily on January 28, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Make yourself a little sign that says “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” or “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan”, tape it to your TV, and take that into consideration of anything that comes out of Obama’s mouth tonight.

Kevin71 on January 28, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Personally, I think every Republican in the chamber should wear a sign that says, “LIAR.”

idalily on January 28, 2014 at 1:40 PM

In the late 1990′s I was a division president for well known national public policy polling company. I personally managed the creation and fielding of a post SOTU approval poll for Bill Clinton, of whom I am no fan and was not at the time. We pre-screened the sample to be sure we could contact them immediately after the speech. We ran a very scientific polling operation.

The poll ended up giving him a 73% approval. So beware any post SOTU polling…. almost all presidents get great marks immediately after the SOTU…..3 weeks later it goes back to where it was

georgealbert on January 28, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Personally, I think every Republican in the chamber should wear a sign that says, “LIAR.”

idalily on January 28, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Referring to the rat-eared wonder or themselves?

The GOP doesn’t come off well if they affirm the lazy stupid one’s claims of obstructionism by being rude during the SOTU.

Happy Nomad on January 28, 2014 at 1:45 PM

OK, so what that 0 is at 43%, that number is going to skyrocket when he pivots to job creation.

tommer74 on January 28, 2014 at 1:55 PM

“The GOP doesn’t come off well if they affirm the lazy stupid one’s claims of obstructionism by being rude during the SOTU.”

I’m sure that Mincy the Earflapped chainsmoking clown would cry (or light up) if those meanie GOPpers weren’t nice during his big talky talky time-

But you have to consider Barry has two new friends- Mr. Pen and Mr. Phone – that can play with his two old friends, Telebinky Right and Telebinky Left!

He doesn’t need those grumpy ole GOPpers anyway!

GrassMudHorsey on January 28, 2014 at 1:58 PM

I’m hoping for some good meatloaf recipes.

rogerb on January 28, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Oh dear!

Hold on. Give me 10 minutes.

Lanceman on January 28, 2014 at 1:58 PM

He sounded presidential… like a leader should sound…. he’s doing what needs to be done
wolfie and tingles post speech

Now if W took unilateral action oh the outrage that would ensue

cmsinaz on January 28, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Quoting a famous WWII General “…I’d rather stick knitting needles through my balls…” than watch this P O S!

Doomsday on January 28, 2014 at 2:10 PM

You can bet that King Barack the Magnificent will be counting on his whores in the MSM to trumpet anything he says. No matter how worthless it is.

GarandFan on January 28, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Wondering if libfree/nonsequiter/loveofsomeothercountry et. al have got their fainting couches standing at the ready.

BigWyo on January 28, 2014 at 2:16 PM

He sounded presidential… like a leader should sound…. he’s doing what needs to be done

wolfie and tingles post speech

cmsinaz on January 28, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Post-speech “analysis” that they had written by 10am this morning after consultation with the White House about what themes were most important to highlight.

And it is now all scripted out. Matthews talking about how somebody who has been unemployed for a long time got hope out of the pledge to bully businesses into hiring them. Blitzer talking about the bold steps to balance economic inequities. Morning Joe crew comparing it to Washington’s farewell address to the troops, the Gettysburg address, or MLK’s Dream Speech.

In other words, the SOTU package for the MSM was built weeks ago and is largely pro forma from every other SOTU speech given since 2009.

Happy Nomad on January 28, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Indeed HN….spot on

cmsinaz on January 28, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Wondering if libfree/nonsequiter/loveofsomeothercountry et. al have got their fainting couches standing at the ready.

BigWyo on January 28, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Americans have Super Bowl parties. Those of libfree’s ilk have SOTU parties (when Dems are in power). This is game day for the onesie-wearing crowd.

Happy Nomad on January 28, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Say, often will Obama speak in serious, whispered tones to demonstrate that he’s really, really sincere?

BuckeyeSam on January 28, 2014 at 2:35 PM

Here is a SOTU preview. I will spare you the torture.

Blah, blah, blah…”fairness”, blah, blah, blah…”equality”, blah, blah, blah…”war on women”, blah, blah, blah…Washington (meaning only Republicans) doesn’t work”, blah, blah, blah…”economy”, blah, blah, blah…”jobs”, blah, blah, blah…”Republicans are responsible for Obamacare failure, but everything’s fine”(audience participation-”Huh?”), blah, blah, blah…”more lies”, blah, blah, blah…”I have a pen, phone and shredded Constitution I plan to use”, blah, blah, blah…”more golf, vacations and despotism”. I am outta here”.

Marcus Traianus on January 28, 2014 at 2:41 PM

According to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, Obama may as well be talking Greek in relation to the priorities of the electorate:

From their recent experience with the EU, the Greeks seem to like the kind of socialism Obama is peddling. Maybe we should send Obama to Greece, and elect a new President for our country.

While he’s there, Obama could also celebrate big fat gay Greek weddings on the island of Lesbos, famous for its gay women.

Steve Z on January 28, 2014 at 2:46 PM

43%?
So he’s even losing some of the 47 percenters now…..

dentarthurdent on January 28, 2014 at 2:50 PM

+1 marcus

cmsinaz on January 28, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Here is a SOTU preview. I will spare you the torture.

Blah, blah, blah…”fairness”, blah, blah, blah…”equality”, blah, blah, blah…”war on women”, blah, blah, blah…Washington (meaning only Republicans) doesn’t work”, blah, blah, blah…”economy”, blah, blah, blah…”jobs”, blah, blah, blah…”Republicans are responsible for Obamacare failure, but everything’s fine”(audience participation-”Huh?”), blah, blah, blah…”more lies”, blah, blah, blah…”I have a pen, phone and shredded Constitution I plan to use”, blah, blah, blah…”more golf, vacations and despotism”. I am outta here”.

Marcus Traianus on January 28, 2014 at 2:41 PM

A-

Not an A+ because you failed to include a key word.

BUSH!!!!!

Del Dolemonte on January 28, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Good catch Del

cmsinaz on January 28, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Possible reason to watch…

Rep. Vance McAllister is bringing “Duck Dynasty” reality TV star Willie Robertson as his guest to the State of the Union address, the Louisiana Republican announced Tuesday. I’m happy to announce that my friend, constituent & small business owner @williebosshog will be attending tonight’s #SOTU as my guest.— Vance McAllister (@RepMcAllister) January 28, 2014

Watch the MS-LSD Talking Heads explode!

Del Dolemonte on January 28, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Beyonce is going to open with the Star Spangled Banner, Oprah will recite the Pledge, her interpretation, instead of Biden, going to back him up with some MoTown singers…and end with a tribute to James Brown…

He is going to talk about wage descrepancies…but he won’t mention that Hollywood stars get paid thousands of times more than their “workers”…

Singers, actors, athletes, I can just imagine those will not be talked about…

What is the average basketball players salary? The AVERAGE?

Well the top 500 players make over $500,000, with the top being $30,000,000 (30 mil for Kobe)…top 200 over 3 million a year…top 100, over 6 million a year…top 50 over 11 million per year…top 10 over 18 million a year…

I would say that qualifies for salary and wage discrepancies…

right2bright on January 28, 2014 at 3:08 PM

He can’t do this alone, he needs the help of congress, but certain elements of congress are so political he can’t get things done.

That will be his theme…and of course look how much better ObamaCare would have been if he didn’t have that push back…look how many more ambassadors would be alive…how much more could have been spent on alternative energy…more bail outs, just think how much “better” it would have been…

right2bright on January 28, 2014 at 3:10 PM

SOTU…. EVERYTHING NOT FORBIDDEN IS COMPULSORY

roflmmfao

donabernathy on January 28, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Watch the MS-LSD Talking Heads explode!

Del Dolemonte on January 28, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Maybe he’ll play politics (election year stuff) and give him a shout out or a cute joke. The conservative heads will explode.
Willie might explain to him how to hold a skeet gun if he “gets uppity” and disses him with his usual snark.(See SOTU and Supreme4 Court justices)

Don L on January 28, 2014 at 3:30 PM

I watch it to see the smug faces that Joe Biden makes…

albill on January 28, 2014 at 4:07 PM