Fox poll: Majority believe Obama made US weaker

The irony of this is that the Fox poll series is usually a little more generous to Barack Obama than some other media polling, but this is just brutal. Sean Sullivan first picked up on this last night at the Washington Post, looking past the sharp drop in approval rating to 40/54 from 44/49 three weeks ago, no doubt the result of the VA scandal. The key questions are Obama’s leadership skills, in which he falls far below Bill Clinton and even George W. Bush:

A majority of voters say the Obama administration is less competent than Bill Clinton’s and a plurality say it is less competent than George W. Bush’s according to a new Fox News poll released Wednesday.

Sixty-eight percent say the Obama administration is less competent that the Clinton administration. Forty-eight percent say it is less competent than Bush’s, compared to 42 percent who say it is more competent. Seven percent judge Obama’s and Bush’s the same.

Fifty-five percent say that the Obama administration has made the country weaker; 35 percent say his administration has made it stronger.

Obama’s leadership skills have been on the decline for a year. In May 2013, he scored a 45/55 between excellent or good/fair or poor. Last November, in the middle of the ObamaCare disaster, it dropped to 40/60, and it’s about the same at 39/61. The survey was conducted from Sunday to Tuesday, though, before the backlash against the Bergdahl swap hit full steam.

On competence, Obama scores poorly against his two predecessors. Compared to Clinton, he gets an 18/68, which may have something to do with sunny hindsight, too. (No one thought much of Clinton’s competence when he chose to have a messy affair with an intern, and then fight a civil lawsuit for sexual harassment rather than ignore it.) The sunny-hindsight syndrome certainly wouldn’t apply to George W. Bush though, and Obama falls short of the man whose competence he made a campaign issue by 42/48, outside of the MoE of the poll.

The Bergdahl swap gets a surprising split in the poll. Disapproval only barely edges approval, 45/47, although again the story is still unfolding. Eighty-four percent worry that this will encourage more hostage-taking, with a majority of 57% “very concerned.” Subsequent polls may have more disapproval, but it’s difficult to see how this concern could peak any further.