Rasmussen’s presidential tracking polls detecting slippage in support for Barack Obama first, and now they report that his approval ratings have fallen below 50% for the first time.  Driving the indicator, as it has all along, is the departure of independents from the president’s banner.  Obama only has a 37% approval rating among unaffiliated voters, which will make his Capitol Hill colleagues even more nervous as Obama’s big-spending plans come up for votes:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 30% of the nation’s voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-eight percent (38%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -8.

Just 25% believe that the economic stimulus package has helped the economy. …

Overall, 49% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President’s performance. Today marks the first time his overall approval rating has ever fallen below 50% among Likely Voters nationwide. Fifty-one percent (51%) disapprove.

It marks the first time that Obama has gone underwater since he started his remarkable run for the presidency in early 2007.  Undoubtedly, voters have now put the responsibility for the economy squarely on Obama’s shoulders after six months of worsening indicators.  The steep decline in support for his health-care bill represents in part a lack of confidence in his ability to deliver after the failure of the massive stimulus package, which he promised would put America back to work.

Even the Democratic gender gap has mostly been wiped out for Obama.  Although crosstabs are not available on daily tracking reports, Rasmussen’s poll shows an approval rating of 51% among women, just two points above the overall average.  If Obama had hoped to maintain the traditional Democratic inroads with women with his focus on health care, that appears to have backfired, as the survey on that issue earlier in the week showed women opposing it by a 50%-46% edge, with men more clearly in opposition at 53%-44%.  Why? Pluralities among both genders believe that their personal coverage will get worse under ObamaCare.

With that in mind, it will be interesting to watch Rasmussen on Monday and Tuesday next week when the effect from the Obama presser gets absorbed in the polling.  Will Obama get a bump just from being on TV?  Or will his lackluster and trite presentation of old arguments work against him with the people who are already unhappy with ObamaCare?

Tags: Barack Obama