Ahead of jobs speech, Obama hits yet another new low in polling

This is almost getting old — and, yet, what choice do those polled have but to disapprove of the president? Consider: When the president finally addresses the jobs crisis this Thursday, it will have been more than 925 days since he last did so. (To realize just how appalling that is, allow the group Let Freedom Ring to walk you through a few far more impressive feats accomplished in less than 925 days.)

The polls in question this time are an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted last week and an ABC/Washington Post poll released today. The Hill’s Michael O’Brien reports:

Forty-four percent of Americans said they approve of the way Obama is doing his job, while 51 percent disapprove of the president, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted late last week.

Those numbers set a new low mark for Obama’s unpopularity in the NBC/WSJ poll, as did the president’s poll numbers in an ABC/Washington Post poll released Tuesday. Forty-three percent of Americans approved of Obama’s job performance in that poll, while 53 percent said they disapprove of Obama.

Obama’s poor ratings appear to stem from deep dissatisfaction with his handling of the economy, as disapproval of his economic management soared to new highs in both the NBC/WSJ and ABC/WashPost polls. Fifty-nine percent of Americans disapproved on how Obama is handling the economy in the NBC poll, while 62 percent said the same in the ABC poll.

The dismal numbers raise the stakes for Obama’s jobs speech Thursday evening before a joint-session of Congress. A report Friday that showed that the economy added no new jobs in August already established just how much the president has riding on the speech.

So much “riding on” the speech — and, yet, unless the president actually introduces truly innovative ideas — and backs them up with prepared legislative language, his words will effectively do nothing to change the present situation.

That the president thinks his speech might effect any positive change reveals just how trapped inside the Beltway he’s been, incessant vacations notwithstanding. Just as, outside the Beltway, “polls” are for strippers and skiers, as Sarah Palin so memorably put it, so speeches are for preachers and pundits. Yes, the president needs to lay out his vision — but, more importantly, he needs to execute a plan.

As Karl Rove has explained, this speech is pure politics — and the president’s campaign blasted out the fundraising e-mail to prove it.

“One big speech rarely changes the numbers,” Rove said Friday on Fox News. “In fact, I think the administration has made a little bit of a tactical mistake here by building up the expectations for this speech almost to a point where it’s impossible to satisfy. … The president said, ‘I’m going to go make a speech to get bipartisan support from Congress for these proposals,’ and then he sent out an e-mail — which I received a copy of — that says to tell Congress to stop playing political games. Look, if you’re trying to build political allies to get something big done for the country, you don’t immediately send out a fundraising email signed by the president decrying the political opposition for opposing a plan you have yet to lay out. This seems to me to show that this is more about politics than the economy.”

Exactly — and the president’s approval rating will be low as long as that continues to be true.