Earlier this week, Democrats tried explaining their lack of campaigning in the midterm cycle as a “rope a dope” strategy, designed to tire Republicans and land a late-round knockout. The only person tiring in the stretch, though, is Barack Obama. Gallup’s quarterly rating hit a new low in the lead-up to the final round of campaigning:
Barack Obama averaged 44.7% job approval during the seventh quarter of his presidency. His average approval rating has declined each quarter since he took office, falling by more than two percentage points in the most recent quarter to establish a new low.
These results are based on Gallup Daily tracking surveys conducted from July 20-Oct. 19, including interviews with more than 90,000 Americans. The seventh quarter included Obama’s new low three-day average approval rating of 41% in mid-August. His approval rating has recovered somewhat since then, with his latest three-day average at 46% for Oct. 17-19 interviewing.
That didn’t stop at the end of the third quarter, either or on job approval. In their latest full survey, Gallup shows Obama underwater on favorability for the first time in his presidency, at least in their polling:
Obama’s decreased popularity is also evident in his favorable rating, updated in an Oct. 14-17 Gallup poll. For the first time, more Americans view the president unfavorably (50%) than favorably (47%), and his favorable rating is the lowest of his presidency.
Most telling, says Andrew Malcolm, are his re-elect numbers:
According to Gallup’s results, 39% of Americans now believe Obama deserves a second term.
Unfortunately for him, 54% believe he does not deserve a second chance at change.
That 54% against a second term is almost 2 points higher than the popular vote total Obama amassed in the 2008 election.
That’s a -15 on re-election, which would be political death if it continues into late 2011. Gallup notes that Obama has two years to improve his standing, and points out that Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton had slightly worse seventh-quarter job approval numbers than Obama and still won re-election. That’s true, but in both cases, the incumbents had economies that were significantly growing by their third year in office. There are few economists who will predict anything better than a 2.4% GDP for 2011, at best stagnation, and no one thinks unemployment will go down in any significant sense until at least 2012.
If that’s true, then 2012 will be a much more difficult election cycle for Democrats than 2010, when the Senate class of 2006 has to defend all of those Democratic gains in the sweep from six years earlier as well as the White House. That -15 re-elect number may look pretty good to Obama by then, if he doesn’t reverse Obamanomics and starts implementing pro-growth economic and regulatory policies. Otherwise, Americans aren’t likely to re-elect a man whose job performance they disapprove and for whom their affections keep decreasing.