Obama underwater in Carville poll?

James Carville runs Democracy Corps, a liberal political-action group that also does regular polling on elections and issues.  Normally it provides the Left with interesting, if not necessarily compelling, data for debate, but today’s poll results have plenty for the Right to discuss.  Not only does it show Barack Obama underwater on job approval, it also shows that Obama has created a wide impression that he is a socialist in practice, as Jim Geraghty points out:

Deep in the poll, they ask, “Now, I am going to read you a list of words and phrases which people use to describe political figures. For each word or phrase, please tell me whether it describes Barack Obama very well, well, not too well, or not well at all.” …

When asked about “a socialist,” 33 percent of likely voters say it describes Obama “very well,” 22 percent say “well,” 15 percent say “not too well,” and 25 percent say “not well at all.”

In other words, 55 percent of likely voters think “socialist” is a reasonably accurate way of describing Obama.

That’s not the worst of it, though.  In this poll, which had a 35/31 Democrat-Republican split — better than some media pollsters manage — Barack Obama sinks underwater on job approval, 46/50.  More strongly disapprove (38%) than strongly approve (27%) of his job performance.  Among likely voters, the gap widens to 45/51, with 40% strongly disapproving of Obama’s performance.  The same exact splits occur on Obama’s handling of the economy, although those strongly approving drop to 22% among all respondents and 23% of likely voters.

On the Congressional ballot, the bad news continues for Democrats.  The GOP wins overall on the question, 46/43, but among likely voters the split goes to six, 48/42.  Twenty-six percent said there was “no chance” they would support a Democratic candidate, while 18% said “no chance” about the Republicans.

Americans remain pessimistic about the economy as well.  Forty percent believe we have hit bottom and have started to improve.  However, 22% say we’ve hit the bottom and are staying there, while 34% think we haven’t hit the bottom yet at all.

It probably doesn’t come as a big shock that Obama doesn’t get good marks on the oil spill, but it could be worse.  His approval numbers on the spill almost mirror that of the economy and his overall approval, 43/50 in both likely voters and the overall sample.  For those who disapprove, 66% say he’s been ineffective and 36% blame his bad leadership (the categories overlap, with multiple responses).

Perhaps most problematic, Obama can’t score a majority for any of the positive qualities listed by the pollster in the survey among likely voters.  The best he does is a 49% for “hopeful vision” and the same for “strong leader,” both of which are ties.  Otherwise, Obama sinks underwater on every other quality mentioned.  The “socialist” label reflects that, but even more significantly for the midterm, 61% of likely voters think “big spender” fits well or very well.