“Eric, don’t call my bluff. I’m going to the American people with this.” — Barack Obama to Eric Cantor, July 13, 2011
And Obama did go to the American people over the fiscal crisis — repeatedly — since that time. How well has it worked out for Obama? Two polls suggest that Obama was right … he was bluffing. First, Gallup’s latest survey puts Obama at 43% approval, equaling his lowest weekly approval of his presidency, and lower than that of Bill Clinton during the 1995 budget standoff:
President Barack Obama averaged a 43% job approval rating for the week of July 18-24, tied for the lowest weekly average of his administration. Obama’s rating at this point is lower than President Bill Clinton’s ratings were in the fall of 1995 when he was embroiled in a budget dispute similar to the one Obama faces now.
Obama’s most recent weekly job approval rating is similar to his 44% of the previous week, but down three percentage points from the two weeks before that. The president also had 43% weekly job approval ratings in late June, in April, and in August 2010. His three-day job approval average for the weekend, July 22-24, is 45%, up slightly from 42% for July 21-23. …
Obama’s current job approval rating is now lower than President Bill Clinton’s was in November and December 2005, when Clinton faced off against Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich over a budget dispute, resulting in a federal government shutdown that had some similarities to the present crisis. Clinton’s monthly job approval average was 53% and 51% in November and December of that year, respectively, before falling back slightly in January to 47% around the time the conflict was resolved. Clinton’s approval rating then registered above 50% for the remaining nine months before the November 1996 election in which he won a second term by defeating Republican Bob Dole.
Obama has grabbed the national media spotlight at least three times with the White House press corps and two other times at nationally-covered town halls since warning Cantor that he would take his case to the American people. The American people remain deeply unimpressed. That’s also the takeaway from the WaPo/ABC poll from the survey conducted last week, although it missed a couple of the later appearances:
More than a third of Americans now believe that President Obama’s policies are hurting the economy, and confidence in his ability to create jobs is sharply eroding among his base, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. …
The poll showed support for Obama’s economic agenda has begun to slip in the past nine months. The percentage of people who said Obama has made the economy worse jumped six points since October to 37 percent. That creates a bigger opening for Republican attacks as the presidential campaign begins to heat up.
The latest viral video by the Republican National Committee hones in on the jobs lost since Obama took office. Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has made “Where are the jobs?” a catchphrase of his campaign. Tea party favorite Michele Bachmann made waves earlier this month when she proclaimed that she would create “real jobs” for Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner if she ousted them.
Still, Obama receives higher marks from crucial independents than Republicans when it comes to jobs. But appeasing his own party could prove to be a bigger challenge.
Now, comes a new ABC News/Washington Post poll with a whole harvest of revelations, among them, strong indications that Obama’s liberal base is starting to crumble. Among the nuggets:
Despite those hundreds of billions of blown stimulus dollars and almost as many upturn promises from Joe Biden, 82% of Americans still say their job market is struggling. Ninety percent rate the economy negatively, including half who give it the worst rating of “poor.” …
Strong support among liberal Democrats for Obama’s jobs record has plummeted 22 points from 53% down below a third. African Americans who believe the president’s measures helped the economy has plunged from 77% to barely half.
Obama’s overall job approval on the economy has slid below 40% for the first time, with 57% disapproving. And strong disapprovers outnumber approvers by better than two-to-one.
After numerous attempts to take his case to the American people, Obama may be chagrined to find that no one’s buying it. That’s what happens when bluffs get called.
Update: I already have The Comment of the Day, from NeighborhoodCatLady: “Bluffy the Job Slayer.”