WaPo/ABC poll a vote of no confidence in Obama

The latest poll from ABC and the Washington Post shows Barack Obama losing more ground with American adults, even as the survey expands the partisan gap in its sample to compensate.  The luster has worn off, especially with independents, and ironically fewer people now credit him with any significant accomplishment than were ready to do so at the 100-day mark:

A year into his presidency, President Obama faces a polarized nation and souring public assessments of his efforts to change Washington, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Nearly half of all Americans say Obama is not delivering on his major campaign promises, and a narrow majority have just some or no confidence that he will make the right decisions for the country’s future.

More than a third see the president as falling short of their expectations, about double the proportion saying so at the 100-day mark of Obama’s presidency in April. At the time, 63 percent said the president had accomplished a “great deal” or a “good amount.” Now, the portion saying so has dropped to 47 percent. …

At the 100-day mark, nearly two-thirds of independents said the president had brought change; in the new poll, fewer than half say so.

What is interesting about the WaPo report is that it doesn’t mention any polling on issues.  It mostly blathers about a “racial divide,” which existed in every Presidency of at least the last 50 years.  Blacks rate Democratic presidents higher than everyone else, and Republican presidents lower; it’s a tremendously loyal demographic for Democrats, one on which they rely every election cycle.  Nothing has changed in this presidency, regardless of the ethnicity of the current President.  I suspect one would have to go back to Eisenhower to find anything different.

Since the Post doesn’t see fit to inform its readers about the issues in its report, one has to go to the polling data to find it.  That has a problem as well.  Their survey has the partisan split at 32% Democrat, 23% Republican, and 38% independent.  That’s an increase of three points in the partisan gap since their last poll on December 13, and far out of the partisan-identification polling mainstream.  Gallup put the gap at five points in the fourth quarter of 2009, while Rasmussen has it at 2.9%.  Neither have Republicans anywhere near as low as 23%.

Bear in mind that Obama only won the popular vote by seven points, and that was well over a year ago.

Keeping that partisan gap inflation in mind, the poll found the following on the issues:

  • Health care – Obama down 44/52, was 44/53 in December.  Strongly approve declined from 27 to 24, while strongly opposed remained at 43.
  • Economy – Down 47/52, was 46/52 in December.
  • Deficit – Down 38/56, was 37/56 in December.
  • Right direction-wrong track: 37/62, was 44/55
  • Confidence/no confidence: 47/53, was 49/50 in October.  “Great deal” of confidence now 24, down from 29, and “None at all” at 27, up from 24.
  • Accomplished much: 47/52, with only 12% buying the notion that Obama has accomplished “a great deal”

For the first time, more respondents in this poll of adults (not registered or likely voters) say that Obama has done a worse job than expected (35%) than a better job than expected (33%), with 30% saying he’s done as well as they expected.  In his first term, the worst George Bush did was 43/31/25, in January 2004.

Imagine what these numbers would look like if the WaPo/ABC sample looked like Gallup’s or Rasmussen’s.  In any case, they’re all going the same direction — down.