Pundits and political insiders on both sides of the aisle have said Team Obama made a big mistake writing a speech that had the president saying “every single one” of his policies are “on the ballot” in November. The latest data suggests they are right because the president is today an extremely flawed spokesperson, especially when it comes to the number one issue in this election, the economy.

The president’s endorsement hurts more than it helps. According to the latest NBC/WSJ/Annenberg survey, an endorsement from President Obama would make voters feel less favorable toward a candidate for U.S. Congress or Senate by 10 points (28{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} more favorable – 38{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} less favorable). The same cannot be said for Bill or Hillary Clinton or even the First Lady, all of whom have better ratings overall and better more to less favorable ratios among Democrats and Independents than the president.

Let me read you a list of people who might endorse a congressional or US senate candidate in your area. For each, please tell me if this support would make you more favorable toward that candidate, less favorable toward that candidate, or make no difference either way in your decision.

table 1

Americans have record low levels of confidence in Obama’s economic goals and policies. September’s CNBC All American Economic Survey found Americans have record low confidence that President Obama has the right set of goals and policies to improve the economy. Just 24{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Americans surveyed said they were extremely or quite confident while 30{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} said they were only somewhat confident and a plurality, 44{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}, said they were not confident at all.

  • This is the first time fewer than 30{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Americans have been extremely or quite confident. Also, the 44{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} who have no confidence matches the president’s all-time high from August 2010.
  • Confidence is highest among self-identified Democrats, with 45{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} saying they are extremely or quite confident Obama has the right goals and policies to improve the economy. That is a far cry from the 65{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Democrats who expressed high confidence in Obama just 15 months ago in the June 2013 NBC/WSJ survey.
  • Eighty percent (80{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) of Republicans say they are not confident at all in his policies.
  • Just 19{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Independents are extremely or quite confident Obama has the right set of goals and policies while 49{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} are not at all confident.

How confident are you that President Obama has the right set of goals and policies to improve the economy–extremely confident, quite confident, only somewhat confident, or not at all confident?

table 2

Bottom Line

Nationalizing this election around President Obama and his policies may very well end up being the biggest mistake of the 2014 election cycle.

Public Opinion Strategies