How bad is it? The president’s job approval (41%) is tied with his worst EVER job rating recorded by NBC/WSJ. The president has been bumping along the bottom for a while now – the other “41″ was measured just recently in March. To put this number in context, the president’s job rating is worse now than his 45% approval going into the 2010 “shellacking” elections.
Only 41% approve of the president’s handling of the economy; again, a figure that is WORSE than just prior to the 2010 elections (43%). How about foreign policy? Only 37% approve of the president. So much for the Bergdahl Boost in an area where presidents are always looking to put 2nd term points on the board.
Let’s place these numbers in the grim history of second mid-term elections In October of 2006, (the worst mid-term this GOPer can remember), the same NBC/WSJ survey showed that 37% would vote to send a signal of opposition to President Bush. Still five months out from election day, President Obama is only a few clicks away from Bush with 34% saying the same thing.
Importantly, while majorities disapprove of the president, similar majorities agree with certain portions of his agenda: Americans approve of the Environmental Protection Agency 40%-28%, a majority (50%) agree that regulations are necessary to protect consumers and the environment, 61% want at least some level of action on climate change, and 57% want companies to cut greenhouse gasses even if it means higher utility bills.
But none of that matters. Americans may agree with the president, but these issues aren’t where Americans’ main concerns are. A majority of Americans are giving up on President Obama’s competence.
A majority (54%) of Americans don’t believe the president can lead the country and get the job done (just 42% still think he can). By a 41% to 15% margin, Americans believe the performance of the Obama administration has gotten worse rather than better.
This schism will widen as President Obama is unable to repair his image regardless of the issue he tries to glue it with (outlawing coal, capturing terrorists, bringing POWs home – it won’t matter). And, politics being what it is, it will ultimately give rise to Democrats distancing themselves from the president just to try to get a toe-hold on re-election. This already is apparent as Red State Democrats make themselves scarce when the president is in town. It is only a matter of time before Purple State Democrats are overcome with the same affliction.
**The poll was conducted jointly June 11-15, 2014, by Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research Associates; however, this analysis was written independently of NBC/WSJ and of Hart Research Associates.