The latest CNN poll has bad news, more bad news, and then even more bad news for Barack Obama. The first set of bad news come on his approval rating, which has dramatically reversed in just two months. Obama has gone from 55/43 in January in the aftermath of his win on tax hikes to 47/50 today — a drop in the gap of 15 points, +12 to -3. It’s the first negative approval rating in this poll since January 2012, when Obama’s approval stood at 47/51. Among independents, his approval rating is only 41/53.
His standing on the issues is even shakier. Overall, 54% of respondents disagree with Obama on “issues that matter most to you,” with only 44% agreeing. On specific issues, it’s even worse. Obama just spent weeks insisting that the sequester would be a disaster and that Americans wanted a “balanced approach” to budgeting rather than spending cuts. Only 31% agree with him on federal budgeting after that campaign, with 67% disapproving (although Republicans do even worse at 19/79). Obama only edges House Republicans on the issue by a single point, 47/46, a dissipation of the bully pulpit advantage. Respondents also rebuke him for not engaging enough with Republicans, with 56% saying he should be doing more.
Even worse for Obama, the poll shows support ebbing for gun-control laws:
A new national poll suggests that support for major restrictions on guns may be fading, three months after the horrific shootings at an elementary school in Connecticut.
Although a majority of Americans favored major restrictions on guns or an outright ban in the wake of the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, when a heavily armed gunman killed 20 young students and six adults, a new CNN/ORC International survey indicates that support has tumbled to just 43%, as more time has passed since that December tragedy.
“Support for stricter gun control has fallen dramatically among two groups – older Americans and people who live in rural areas,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “In the immediate aftermath of the shootings in Connecticut, the number of rural Americans who supported major gun restrictions rose to 49% but now that support has dropped 22 points. Support for stricter gun laws dropped 16 points among Americans over 50 years old in that same time.”
In contrast, another world leader is enjoying a much better week:
“Pope Francis is starting off with a huge reservoir of goodwill in the U.S. Eighty-eight percent of American Catholics questioned in our survey approve of his selection as pope,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
By contrast, an ABC News/Washington Post poll in April, 2005, found only 60% of Americans Catholics approved of the selection of Pope Benedict, the predecessor to Francis.
Perhaps American Catholics aren’t used to seeing demonstrations of humility from leaders these days.