CNN: Obama approval holding steady ... at 42%

From the Lipstick on the Pig Department, CNN reports that its latest polling shows “no Katrina moment” for Barack Obama. That, however, is rather cold comfort, as even CNN allows, because the steady level of the President’s job approval rating puts him underwater by double digits. The only good news is that the approval-disapproval levels haven’t shifted southward in the wake of the VA scandal, ISIS’ expansion, and the escalations in Gaza and Ukraine:

President Barack Obama’s poll numbers are nothing to brag about, but there’s little evidence he has suffered so far this year a “Katrina moment” that caused his predecessor’s numbers to plummet.

A new CNN/ORC International survey indicates that public opinion of the President has barely budged in the wake of new challenges that Obama has faced this year.

According to the poll, which was released Wednesday, the President’s approval rating among Americans stands at 42%. That’s not great, but it’s basically unchanged since March.

Only 42% believe that Obama can manage the government effectively. Again, nothing to celebrate, but it’s virtually unchanged from the 43% who felt that way in March.

That may not mean that Obama hasn’t suffered a “Katrina moment,” though. It just changes when it may have occurred. From  late 2011 to mid-2013, the CNN series on Obama’s job approval mostly put it at either a majority or plurality, with only a rare plurality for disapproval and never outside of the margin of error. As late as May 2013, Obama’s approval rating was 53/45 — in a survey taken right before the exposure of both the IRS and NSA scandals. One month later, it flipped to 45/54 and has been underwater outside of the MOE since, with majority disapproval every poll. The trend on leadership has much fewer data points, but exhibits a similar trend. Independents have his job approval at 34/62, and he’s even estranged women at 45/52 and young voters (18-34) narrowly at 45/49.

Interestingly, Obama’s other personal qualities seem to be holding up a little better, but still should have Democrats worried — especially on how voters relate to their party’s leader. On the question of whether Obama “generally agrees with you on issues you care about,” Obama dropped to 43/56, narrowly the worst rating ever (was 44/56 in the wake of the ObamaCare rollout debacle). In May of last year, it was 51/47. The relentless focus on issue non-sequiturs over the last several months seems to have taken its toll on Obama, and other Democrats still talking about a “war on women” and income inequality should take notice of that trend in particular. For women, that’s now 45/53, and among independents it’s an abysmal 35/63.

He’s also dropped to 46/53 on “shares your values,” the lowest rating ever and the first time Obama’s been underwater on this question when the entire sample was surveyed on it. Among women, it’s 46/52, and independents it’s 39/60, slightly better than the questions above but still horrid. He’s still carrying the youth vote at 52/46 but losing every other age demo decisively, and every income demo as well.

CNN suggests that ObamaCare may be gaining more support, but that’s a narrow reading of the data, too:

More than half the public says Obamacare has helped either their families or others across the country, although less than one in five Americans say they have personally benefited from the health care law, according to a new national poll.

CNN/ORC International survey also indicates that a majority of Americans oppose the Affordable Care Act, but that some of that opposition is from people who don’t think the measure goes far enough.

Yes, and … that’s always been the case. As far as the trend goes, there isn’t one. Eighteen percent think their family is better off with the law, which is exactly what it was in September 2010 and one point off from September 2013 (17%). Thirty-five percent think their family is worse off, slightly down from 40% last September but almost within the MOE, and just two points off from September 2010’s 37%. That’s not improvement — it’s stasis. In fact, the only real trend seen in this series is a decline in perception of improvement for others — from 43% in March 2010 to 35% today, while “not help anyone” has gone from 29% when the ACA passed Congress to 44% today.

ObamaCare fares similarly when asked as approval/disapproval, too. It gets a 40/59, about mid-range for the series and almost identical to March’s 39/57. Women oppose it 42/57, as do 18-34 year olds, and independents rate it at 34/63. Those earning under $50,000 a year, who should be the target demo for the bill, oppose it by 20 points, 39/59.

If this poll result from ObamaCare is the Great Democratic Hope for the midterms, they’d better start investing in crying towels now while they’re cheap.

Update: Guy Benson offers his own take on the poll, especially on the idea that this is in any way positive about ObamaCare.

Update: Fixed careless subject-verb error in final sentence.