WSJ/NBC: For the first time, views of Obama are more unfavorable than favorable

Lots of people, including NBC, are leading with the fact that his job approval is also at a new low (42/51), but that’s less interesting to me than his favorable rating. Of course his job approval’s in the tank. How could it not be? He’s tangled up in the NSA dragnet again, he’s still smarting (as is the GOP) from public bitterness about the shutdown, and he’s got a five-alarm political fire on his hands from the dual failures of and the “if you like your plan” fiasco. This isn’t even the worst approval rating he’s had in polling lately: YouGov pegged him at 44/54 and last week Fox News had him at 41/53. He’s lucky he’s not below 40 percent. Yet.

His favorable rating is more significant to me because that’s not so much a measure of a politician’s performance as it is his likeability. You can think a guy’s doing a crappy job but still sympathize with him personally. O’s been underwater in WSJ/NBC’s job approval polling before — he had an especially bad stretch in late 2011 — but the public continued on balance to have a more favorable impression of him than an unfavorable one. They’ve been on his side, even when they’ve when they’ve been unhappy with the results. But not anymore:

The NBC/WSJ pollsters argue that no single reason explains Obama’s lower poll standing. Rather, they attribute it to the accumulation of setbacks since the summer — allegations of spying by the National Security Agency, the debate over Syria’s chemical weapons, the government shutdown and now intense scrutiny over the problems associated with the health care law’s federal website and its overall implementation…

And for the first time in the survey, even Obama’s personal ratings are upside-down, with 41 percent viewing him a favorable light and 45 percent viewing him negatively.

“Personally and politically, the public’s assessment is two thumbs down,” says Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff.

Key question: Are they upside-down because people are exasperated over the shutdown or because it’s starting to dawn on them that ObamaCare might be worse than they thought? Here’s two bits from the crosstabs showing that, while Republicans did end up taking the brunt of the blame for the shutdown, it’s not as lopsided as Democrats hoped it would be:


The fact that there’s 52 percent who think the law needs a major overhaul or should be eliminated entirely doesn’t surprise me, although it’s splashy enough that NBC has devoted a separate post to it. That’s in line with O-Care’s traditional levels of 45/55 approval. What’s interesting is the first table, showing opposition to the law starting to tick upward again after falling during the shutdown. That contradicts the Gallup poll I posted earlier suggesting that support for the law is steady due to partisan divisions. Maybe not. Maybe the apocalypse and percolating media coverage of rate shock are starting to bite. And do note: This poll was only conducted through October 28th. If it’s true that the public’s souring on ObamaCare, they’re surely even sour today than they were on Monday.

I’ll leave you with this. Anyone care to float an explanation?

[S]upport for the law has slipped with one key group – women, who traditionally rank health care as a higher priority than men, and who are seen as an important plank in selling the law.

Americans called it a bad idea by a 47-37 percent margin – a shift from 43-38 percent earlier this month. But among women, a group President Barack Obama won by 11 points in 2012, just 38 percent think it’s a good idea, while 45 percent do not. That’s down from early October, when most women said the law was a good idea by a 41-39 percent margin.

Among white women, results are even worse. Three weeks ago, they thought it was a bad idea by a 46-36 percent margin. Now a majority say so, at 52-32 percent.