“Elusive”? The only issue on which Gallup’s respondents gave majority job approval to Barack Obama was “race relations,” and even that barely nudged above half to 52%. Only on three others out of thirteen does Obama stay above water with plurality approval; on nine others, he sinks below the disapproval rating, including a big loss on the economy among adults — not registered or likely voters, which is a huge flare of distress:
Barack Obama’s 52% approval rating for handling race relations is the only issue among 13 tested in two recent Gallup polls for which the president receives majority-level approval. In fact, a majority disapprove of the job the president is doing on eight of these issues, with his worst scores for his handling of immigration and the federal budget deficit.
These results are based on a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted July 27-Aug. 1 and a separate Gallup poll conducted Aug. 5-8, which asked Americans to say whether they approve or disapprove of the way the president is dealing with each of several issues. Both polls measured Obama’s handling of the economy, which Americans rated essentially the same in each (39% and 38%, respectively).
Obama’s generally tepid evaluations on issues are not surprising considering his overall job approval rating has consistently been below 50%.
Obama stays above water on eductation (49/40), terrorism (48/45), and energy policy (47/42), although on terrorism it’s closer to a dead heat within the MOE. The bad news starts at foreign affairs (44/48) and goes downhill from there. While foreign policy hasn’t been a front-line issue during the past eighteen months — the economy and immigration has taken nearly all of the political oxygen — it’s notable that Americans have gotten so disenchanted with “smart power” and reset buttons.
But the really bad news is on the issues that appear to be driving the midterms:
- Healthcare policy – 40/57
- Economy – 38/59
- The federal deficit – 31/64
- Immigration – 29/62
Bear in mind that it was just a few months ago that Obama thought he could split the GOP on immigration and pick up some midterm seats in the resulting collapse. He grandstanded incessantly on Arizona’s immigration enforcement law to that end, only to have it blow up in his face when polls showed it to be widely popular in just about every state in the US. Activist groups favoring open-borders policies are furious that Obama hasn’t done more to push comprehensive immigration reform, but even Obama knows he can’t move anything with those numbers.
Going into the midterms, the two issues voters care about most are the economy and the deficit, both of which Obama flunks among the general population. The one accomplishment of his term has been ObamaCare — which the electorate hates. Obama has little choice but to keep invoking George W. Bush, but at this rate, he may start to envy Bush’s approval numbers.