The latest Bloomberg Politics poll shows Republicans’ popularity hitting a five-year high after a stunning midterm wave election. That comes mainly at Barack Obama’s expense, but also at the expense of the Democratic Party. The backlash can be felt in the standing among independents, and on issues such as Obama’s executive action on immigration — which turns out to be an expensive pander to a narrow constituency:
Republicans are enjoying a five-year peak in popularity after their wins in the midterm elections, according to a new Bloomberg Politics poll, while President Barack Obama struggles with his lowest job approval rating, at 39 percent. The White House also is facing a backlash from independents who oppose his unilateral moves on immigration, and just 24 percent say the country is on the right track, the lowest rating since September 2011. …
“This is a rising tide for Republicans while the tide has kind of gone out for the Democrats,” said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll. “Now that the midterms are over, it seems to me it’s incumbent on them to pivot for 2016. They’ve had a strong ride in beating up on Obama. Now, exactly how long is that the relevant message? People are eventually going to want to hear ‘We’re going to do this.’ They’re going to want to hear a positive message—not just ‘we have to stop Obama.'”
One Democrat captured the Obama zeitgeist succinctly:
Kenenitz said that Obama is “too much of a flip-flop type guy” and that “with him pulling this executive power” the president is “like a crybaby—‘it’s my way or no way’—and I just don’t feel he’s doing a good job.”
For the record, the issue isn’t that Republicans have become terribly hip — it’s that Obama and the Democrats have become much more unpopular. The GOP gets a -2 overall on favorability at 45/47, their best showing in years. Democrats get a 41/50, while Obama does a little better at 45/51. Hillary Clinton is the only person or institution to get majority favorability at 52/42, a point Republicans may want to keep in mind before dislocating a shoulder patting themselves on the back. She leads all of the potential GOP nominees that Bloomberg can imagine at this point, but that means nothing at all, since Hillary at this point is unchallenged and every potential opponent could just as easily be listed as Generic Republican at this stage.
The poll doesn’t give the White House any better news than this. Despite a 45% favorable response, Obama’s job approval sits at 39/52, a 13-point gap that reflects the mood of the midterms better than the relative favorability of the parties. His best issue is the economy, and that only gets a 42/53. Foreign policy approval is 37/51, and health care only gets 41/55. Obama gets a 37/54 on immigration a couple of weeks after his big “I’m gonna act alone” statement, which isn’t surprising, considering that Bloomberg respondents oppose executive action by a wide margin, 39/56. A bigger majority of independents oppose this (57%) according to their news report, although the data release didn’t include those breakdowns.
Interestingly, this isn’t a poll of registered voters, either. The survey sample was 1,001 adults, which should be the most favorable sample type for Obama and the Democrats. If it’s that bad with this kind of sample, imagine what the numbers would be among registered voters or likely 2016 voters.