Supposedly, Barack Obama is enjoying a second honeymoon after winning a new term in office, and that may be true in terms of personal ratings. On the issues, though, Obama finds himself mostly in the doghouse. In a poll of general-population adults by Gallup, Obama only gets above 50% in one area — national defense — and is underwater on every other issue (via Weasel Zippers and Instapundit):
President Obama earns a 39% job approval rating for his handling of the economy, similar to his ratings on the issue one year ago. Among domestic issues, Obama’s rating on the economy is above only his 31% rating for handling the federal deficit. Across nine issues, Americans give Obama his highest approval ratings for handling national defense (53%), followed by foreign affairs and immigration, each at 46%.
If President Obama focuses on the economy in his fourth State of the Union address Tuesday night, as news reports indicate he will do, he will be dealing with an area in which the American public gives him relatively low performance ratings. The president’s 39% rating on handling the economy is essentially the same as the 38% from this time last year, although lower than the ratings of 45% and 44% he received just before and just after last November’s presidential election. Obama received his lowest rating on the economy (26%) in August 2011, in the aftermath of the debt ceiling fight in Washington. Obama earned his highest economic rating, 59%, in February 2009 — in the first measure after he took office.
Weasel Zippers focuses on Obama’s ratings on gun issues, which are upside-down by double digits, 42/54. That should be a significant warning signal to other Democrats who won’t benefit from Obama’s personal likability. If Obama loses a majority of gen-pop adults after having the media participate in the national hysteria over so-called “assault weapons” for nearly two months, there won’t be much hope for red-state Democrats like Mark Pryor, or perhaps even purple-state Democrats like Al Franken, who won’t be garnering much nice-guy cred.
But that’s hardly the only problem area for Obama. After having won a battle with Republicans over hiking taxes on the wealthy, one might expect that he’d get a boost on that issue. Instead, he’s in even worse shape on taxes than on guns, 41/57, sixteen points under water. As Gallup reports in its analysis, it gets even worse on the economy (39/60) and the budget deficit (31/65), two issues that Obama will have to discuss in at least some detail in tonight’s State of the Union speech.
This isn’t a honeymoon. It looks more like double secret probation. Obama had better reconsider the notion of political capital as he approaches his big speech tonight.