Rasmussen: Strong disapproval outstrips overall approval for first time

Normally, Rasmussen uses its Presidential Approval Index, or what I call the “passion index,” to measure the prevailing winds of popularity for Barack Obama’s presidency.  It may need to change its metric to track when his overall approval manages to rise above the strong disapproval that has been growing in the second half of 2009.  Those streams crossed for the first time today in Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll, as Obama dropped to 44% approval while strong disapproval rose to 46%:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 25% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-six percent (46%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -21 That’s the lowest Approval Index rating yet recorded for this President (see trends).

Fifty-three percent (53%) of men Strongly Disapprove along with 39% of women. Most African-American voters (58%) Strongly Approve while most white voters (53%) Strongly Disapprove.

Seventy-four percent (74%) of Republicans Strongly Disapprove as do 52% of unaffiliated voters. Forty-seven percent (47%) of Democrats Strongly Approve.

For the second straight days, the update shows the highest level of Strong Disapproval yet recorded for this President. That negative rating had never topped 42% before yesterday. However, it has risen dramatically since the Senate found 60 votes to move forward with the proposed health care reform legislation. Most voters (55%) oppose the health care legislation and senior citizens are even more likely than younger voters to dislike the plan.

The most worrisome trend remains the disaffection of independents.  Independent voters not only put Obama into office, they gave the Democrats a majority in both chambers of Congress.  Sixty-two percent of independents disapprove of Obama’s performance, and all but ten percent strongly.  If they continue to register strong levels of disgust, Obama will still be President in 2011, but Nancy Pelosi won’t be Speaker of the House, and Obama will have to deal with a Republican Congress holding the pursestrings.

Rasmussen notes that the increase in disapproval came after the Senate hijinks this weekend, but that points up another interesting issue in this poll.  Normally, weekends tend to be more sympathetic to Democrats on polls.  Two of the three days of this survey were Saturday and Sunday, before Reid got his cloture vote.  The bump Monday perhaps shows some of the reaction to that, but more will be coming in the next couple of days.