The sixth-year blues have caught up to Barack Obama … with a vengeance. In an NBC/WSJ poll taken before the meltdown in Iraq, Obama gets his lowest marks ever on foreign policy, where his claim to “smart power” has evidently reached its expiration date. But the real danger to Obama and to Democrats vying for office in less than five months is the vote of no confidence in Obama’s leadership:
The percentage of Americans approving of President Barack Obama’s handling of foreign policy issues has dropped to the lowest level of his presidency as he faces multiple overseas challenges, including in Iraq,according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Additionally, the public is evenly split on whether Obama is a competent manager of the federal bureaucracy. And a majority of respondents – 54 percent – believe the term-limited president is no longer able to lead the country. …
Just 37 percent approve of his handling of foreign policy, which is an all-time low in the survey, while 57 percent disapprove, an all-time high.
What’s more, by a 44 percent-to-30 percent margin, Americans disagree with the Obama administration’s decision to secure the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five imprisoned Taliban fighters.
Obama’s job approval comes in at 41/53, the second-worst in the NBC/WSJ series (March 2014’s 41/54 is the nadir). The 37/57 on foreign policy is a record low for Obama, and the economy is nearly at a historical low at 41/54. But it’s the leadership issues that will make headlines today. In terms of competency, Obama now ranks below Bush at the analogous point in time of his predecessor’s presidency. Post-Katrina Bush had a 53/46 rating for competency, while it’s an even split at 50/50 for Obama. Thirty-one percent say Obama isn’t competent at all, compared to 24% for Bush in the same time frame, and that’s a ten-point increase for Obama from last June.
That last metric isn’t an anomaly. Only 15% believe that Obama’s performance has improved over the past year, while 41% think it has gotten worse. The top areas in which those respondents believe Obama has gotten worse are ObamaCare, foreign policy — and the Taliban 5 swap for Bowe Bergdahl, with the economy and Obama’s dishonesty rounding out the top five. Small wonder, then, that only 42% of respondents think Obama can still lead this nation, while 54% reject Obama’s leadership.
As Chuck Todd tells Morning Joe, “This is the public saying your presidency is over”:
I’d disagree with Chuck on what this means for Democrats, though. While it’s true that the Congressional polling isn’t a disaster for Democrats, voters will be looking for ways to fill the leadership vacuum and deal with the perceived incompetence and dishonesty at the White House — and they won’t be choosing Democrats for that mission.