WaPo/ABC poll shows decline in trust of public officials

Color me shocked, shocked that the American public has less faith and trust in public officials. President Barack Obama spent the last six years lying to insured Americans by telling them that ObamaCare would have no impact on them, and it’s been years since Democrats and Republicans have passed a budget on regular order. What a surprise that few trust any of them to do their jobs well, as the latest Washington Post/ABC poll shows:

[Obama’s] current approval stands at 46 percent, up from a low of 42 percent in November. Still, for the first time on the eve of a State of the Union address, more Americans rate his performance negatively than positively, with 50 percent disapproving. His previous low at the start of a new year was 48 percent positive, 48 percent negative in 2012. A year ago, his approval rating was 55 percent.

Just 37 percent say they have either a good amount or a great deal of confidence in the president to make the right decisions for the country’s future, while 63 percent say they do not. Those numbers are the mirror image of what they were when he was sworn into office in 2009 and lower than at any other time the question was asked by The Washington Post and ABC News.

Obama’s approval ratings are almost identical to those of George W. Bush at a similar point in his presidency in 2006. Other recent two-term presidents — Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan — were at 60-percent approval at the start of their sixth years, while Richard M. Nixon, in the middle of the Watergate scandal, was at 26 percent.

Confidence in Democrats and Republicans in Congress, however, is even lower than for President Obama. Twenty-seven percent say they have confidence in Democrats to make the right decisions for the country, while 72 percent do not, and just 19 percent have confidence in Republicans, while 80 percent do not. Almost half lack confidence in all three.

Here’s the problem with this analysis of the poll, however — Congressional approval ratings always stink. These may stink more than usual, but the 90%+ reelection rate for Congressional incumbents is probably not in serious danger, except perhaps in the Senate, where the numbers don’t favor Democrats. The Post’s Dan Balz and Peyton Craighill make that point by noting that Democrats can be happy that Obama’s poll numbers are going up, but the difference is almost within the margin of error.

They’re not going to be happy with the rest of the poll numbers:

  • Overall job approval – 46/50
  • Economy – 43/55 (38/59 among independents)
  • ObamaCare implementation – 37/59
  • Handling of Iran – 39/49
  • Handling of Syra – 33/45
  • Trustworthy – 49/48

The rating by party on the economy is particularly bad for Obama and the Democrats, with Republicans leading 44/37.  The GOP also wins on budget deficits, size of government, and gun control (by eleven points), but Democrats end up getting the edge on most other issues, including health care (44/35). But the President wants to talk at length on the economy, especially on themes of inequality, in the upcoming State of the Union speech, which means the Democrats may end up putting one of their biggest weaknesses on center stage.