It has to grate President Obama and his team to read the recent Pew poll summary that notes that Obama’s current job approval ratings (59%-26%) “remain on par with George W. Bush’s ratings in March 2001 (55% approved, 25% disapproved).”

In fact, after nearly eight weeks in office, Obama’s job approval has slipped under the 60% mark in a number of public polls, and his disapproval has reached the mid-30’s (Pew, Rasmussen, NPR).

Interestingly, the Pew analysis points to an ideological factor as a potential explanation for the shift in his approval scores.  Their polling shows that by a 44%-30% margin, voters believe that Obama is listening more to liberals in his own party over moderates.  And, that represents a significant change from January, when voters believed he was listening more to moderates of his party by a 44%-34% margin.

So, perhaps that perceived ideological shift can partially explain the slippage in the President’s job approval among Independents – from 63%-14% to 57%-27% and among GOP’ers – from 34%-41% to 27%-56%.

Looking ahead:

  • Expect President Obama’s job approval scores to fall further – probably to a level 17-20 points above “right direction.”
  • As Obama continues his trash-talking about the AIG bonus issue, he may be unwittingly taking ownership of the issue as well, potentially highlighting his inability to impact AIG’s behavior.
  • It’s only a matter of time before Obama takes ownership of the economy, and that time will certainly come before the next election.
  • As Obama’s numbers continue to slip, Congressional Democratic leaders will feel emboldened to push their liberal agendas, potentially pulling the President further to the left.

Eight weeks into Obama’s Presidency, is he already on the bubble?

Public Opinion Strategies