If the WaPo/ABC poll put the best spin on what looks like a record arrival for second-term malaise, McClatchy drives the point home in its more dramatic poll results. That’s worth a post of its own, as the results from the two surveys bracket the trend in the RCP numbers over the past month:
The disappointing results come as the White House this week looks to turn the national conversation back to the economy. Obama will deliver the first of a series of speeches Wednesday aimed at offering his vision for boosting economic growth, even as the new poll found that just 37 percent of the respondents approved of his handling of the economy, while 56 percent disapproved.
Overall, the poll found Obama’s job approval at 41 percent last week, a sharp drop from April’s 50 percent and his worst showing in the poll since 39 percent in September 2011. Forty-eight percent disapproved in the latest poll, up from April’s 46 percent.
Obama won re-election in November with 51 percent of the popular vote.
“Clearly six months into his second term there’s been falloff across the board. It’s not like one group bailed on him,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion at Marist College in New York, which conducted the poll.
Unlike the WaPo/ABC series, McClatchy-Marist had Obama peaking at 50% only occasionally. The last survey in the series was in March (at least when the survey was conducted — it was published in April), when Obama had a 50/46 approval rating even in the midst of the sequester fight. This is an eleven-point swing in the gap in four months, a dramatic shift that gives Obama the lowest approval rating of any RCP-listed poll for 2013.
It’s not just the economy, but it’s a big part of the problem. Miringoff claims that Obama’s approval drops every time the White House stops addressing the issue, which explains why they’re anxious to get Obama on the stump again. A majority of 54% believe the US is still in a recession four years after the recovery began, hardly complimentary to Obama’s economic policies, and like the WaPo/ABC poll, 60% see the country going in the wrong direction.
Maybe that’s why he crossed up Jay Carney last night and declared that he would offer some new “big and bold ideas” an an OFA event:
So far there’s no slogan attached to the White House’s latest initiative, which kicks off Wednesday in Galesburg, Ill. The president’s advisers are billing his remarks as a major address on the economy, though no new initiatives are expected to be announced.
“I’m going to talk about where we need to go from here, how we need to put behind us the distractions and the phony debates and nonsense that somehow passes for politics these days, and get back to basics,” Obama said Monday as he addressed Organizing for Action, the non-profit group backing his agenda.
Obama said Wednesday’s speech would kick off a months-long effort to refocus on the economy and start exploring “some big and bold ideas” — some he’s offered previously, and some new ones, too. Aides said those fresh policy proposals would come in a series of follow-up speeches planned through September, most of which will be narrowly targeted on issues like housing, retirement security and expanding access to education.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama’s repeated attempts to orient his public agenda on the economy should serve as a reminder that “the president has always been focused on these issues.”
Maybe the slogan should be “This Time I Really Mean It.” The confusion at the White House over the speech’s purpose doesn’t lend much credibility to that slogan, of course, but it might be that the West Wing wants to bait the media with a will he or won’t he? narrative to intensify interest in the event. If so, that would be rather ironic, since the American people have consistently made this issue their central concern for the last six years, and Obama this year has gone far out of his way to talk about nearly anything except the economy.