Obama hits 41% approval in Gallup tracking poll

Barack Obama presumably hoped for a bounce from Wednesday’s budget-reform speech, but thus far he’s only received the dead-cat variety at Gallup.  Their daily three-day tracking poll includes one day each before and after the speech, and Obama went from 46/46 in last weekend’s surveys to 41/50 in their release today.  The Los Angeles Times notes the drop in support:

It could be gas prices, the budget debate, or simply the usual ups and downs of public opinion polling. But President Obama’s approval rating has dipped to a five-month low in Gallup’s daily tracking poll, reverting to post-midterm election lows.

The survey, a three-day rolling average conducted April 11-13, pegs Obama’s approval at 42%, the lowest since Nov. 10-12. For only the 13th time in his term and the first time since late October, his disapproval rating has reached 50%. …

The White House routinely dismisses polling data. But it’s a troublesome footnote as the president kicks off his re-election effort Thursday.

Obama’s low approval rating is not the result of the major speech he delivered on Wednesday. Some of the polling took place before he delivered the speech. Rather, a Gallup official believes the results reflect broad public dissatisfaction with the economy.

These are three-day averages, which means as Gallup adds a day, one drops off.  The idea that the speech had nothing to do with the drop recorded when Wednesday’s results, at least some of which took place in the speech’s immediate aftermath, would make sense only if some major negative announcement in economic indicators had taken place that day, which didn’t.  In fact, the only indicators that did get reported this week — inflation rising and jobless claims “unexpectedly” spiking upward — got announced on Thursday, not Wednesday.  The sharp drop seems at least in part tied to Obama’s speech.

Gallup will have the weekly average up on Monday or Tuesday of next week.  In his previous weekly poll, Obama also tied his lowest approval rating of the series for 2011.  Furthermore, the White House should be concerned about the direction in the demographics.  For instance, Obama is below 50% with both men and women, and among all age demographics except 18-29YOs — where his approval dropped to a 2011 low at 52%.  Among seniors, he’s at 41% and slightly lower than that with 50-64YOs at 40%, and these are the people who will turn out in force in the 2012 elections.

Geographically, Obama looks to be in serious trouble as well.  He only barely gets majority approval in the East at 51%, drops to 47% in the Midwest, and hits a surprising low 42% in the West despite the liberal bastions of the Pacific Coast.  In mid-January, Obama had a 54% approval rating in this region.  He fails to get a majority in any income demographic, either.  Most troubling for his re-election prospects, Obama gets a 39% approval rating from independents.

Next week’s results might show a rebound among Obama’s traditional base of liberals and low-income voters after his demagogic attempt at class warfare on Wednesday, but the sharp drop in today’s tracking poll suggests that he has further alienated everyone else.

Update: I actually got the headline wrong; the number was 41%, not 42%.