Confidence in Barack Obama as a leader continues to sink, as do the President’s approval ratings on the issues, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC poll.  Despite getting a skewed sample once again, Obama drops to a -14 on confidence and hits a seven-month low on job approval rating:

Public confidence in President Obama has hit a new low, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. Four months before midterm elections that will define the second half of his term, nearly six in 10 voters say they lack faith in the president to make the right decisions for the country, and a clear majority once again disapproves of how he is dealing with the economy.

Regard for Obama is still higher than it is for members of Congress, but the gap has narrowed. About seven in 10 registered voters say they lack confidence in Democratic lawmakers and a similar proportion say so of Republican lawmakers.

Overall, more than a third of voters polled — 36 percent — say they have no confidence or only some confidence in the president, congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans. Among independents, this disillusionment is higher still. About two-thirds of all voters say they are dissatisfied with or angry about the way the federal government is working.

Such broad negative sentiments have spurred a potent anti-incumbent mood. Just 26 percent of registered voters say they are inclined to support their representative in the House this fall; 62 percent are inclined to look for someone new.

Before we get started on the results, let’s take a look at yet another skewed sample from the WaPo/ABC pollster.  Democrats have a seven-point advantage in this poll in its general population (31/24) and registered voter subgroup (33/26).  Barack Obama won the popular vote by seven points in November 2008.  Does the WaPo/ABC pollster really believe that today’s electorate is exactly the same as then?  On the other hand, it’s an improvement over the last survey in June (+9 RV) and April (+9 RV, +11 GP).  Maybe by the time we get to the midterms, the WaPo/ABC sample may actually begin to look like the electorate.

Even with the boost from sampling, Obama’s moving in the wrong direction on the issues.  He took the biggest hit on the economy, losing 12 points in the gap in just a month:

  • Economy – 43/54, down from 50/49 in June
  • Health care – 45/50, down from 49/49 in April
  • Budget deficit – 40/56, basically unchanged since April
  • Regulation of financial industry – 44/50, down from 48/48 in April

The confidence numbers, though, should be more worrisome than any others except perhaps the economy.  Obama has been underwater in the WaPo/ABC poll since August of last year, when he dropped to 49/50 in the middle of the ObamaCare summer.  In January, with ObamaCare stalled, it took a sudden dip to 47/53, and has dropped again in this poll.  Presidents can back unpopular legislation and still be seen as a leader; Reagan did it in both terms.  Obama has been exposed as an empty suit in a crisis, and that may not be a conclusion that Obama can reverse.

The GOP takes the first lead for the generic Congressional ballot in this poll since February, edging Democrats 47/46 in the survey.  Prior to February, the last lead shown for Republicans in this poll came in October 2002, helped in no small part by the pattern of oversampling Democrats in their polls.  The Post reports more on the strong anti-incumbent fervor, with 60% planning to replace their Representative and only 25% planning to vote for the incumbent, but it’s more than just anti-incumbency.  Support for the GOP has grown eight points since last October and ten points in a year.  Support for Democrats has dropped six points in the same time.