Obama’s Left-Leanings Not Lost on Voters

Voters were not misguided when they elected Barack Obama last November. They knew he was liberal, but it just didn’t matter because he wasn’t George W. Bush.

The Obama Administration’s sharp turn to the Left since taking office is starting to leave a mark on voters. In the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal survey, voters labeling Obama “liberal” in his political ideology moved markedly upward. Fifty-eight percent (58{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) of voters now consider Obama a liberal in his political leanings compared to 49{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} when Obama took office in January.


This marks the liberal high-water mark for Obama since the election peak of 59{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in June of 2008. Notably, those voters labeling Obama “very liberal” has now hit its highest point ever at 36{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}.

Obama’s ideological leanings are clearly out-of-tune with the American electorate. From our POS 100-day National Survey, fully 52{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of voters consider Obama to be on their ideological Left. What is even more interesting is that a significant chunk of Democrat voters place Obama to their ideological left as well. One out of five Democrats (21{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) believe Obama to be more liberal than they are.

Where is the shift in perceptions about Obama’s ideology coming from? It is actually coming across the political spectrum. Certainly, some of the shift is coming from Republican quarters. Seventy-two percent (72{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) of Republicans referred to Obama as liberal in January – that number is now up to 80{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}.

Importantly, some of the movement has also come among Independent voters and moderates.


Interestingly, Democrats are also moving to a more liberal view of the President. Nearly half of all Democrats (48{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) consider Obama liberal today compared to 38{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} when he took office in January. (I suppose Democrat voters would consider this a good thing.)

American voters knew they were electing a liberal as President – he was no liberal in disguise. But how liberal is too liberal for American voters now without a Bush to fall back on?

Public Opinion Strategies