When President Obama took office in January 2009 he enjoyed soaring job approval and favorable image scores. But, as time has passed the laws of political gravity have taken hold as we have watched ratings for him and his party steadily decline throughout his first year in office.
Now, as we’re settling into 2010 we’re seeing that Republicans are benefitting from the public’s waning support for Obama and Democrats in Congress. The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll* shows Republicans closing the gap on the key issues of the day.
Additionally, the image of the Democratic Party is just about as low as we have measured in twenty years of NBC/WSJ tracking. It has swung from 49% positive, 31% negative in February 2009 to 39% positive, 38% negative a year later. Since December, we have also shown the public’s preference for who controls Congress tied within margin of error – the last election cycle we had it this close was 2004.
Granted, Republicans are not yet winning the public’s trust, and they are still not viewed that favorably by Americans (32% positive, 38% negative in our last NBC/WSJ poll**). But, these measures indicate that the political winds are changing and the momentum is all on the Republican side heading into the 2010 election season.
(Public Opinion Strategies partners with Peter D. Hart Research Associates to conduct the NBC/WSJ polls. Neither Peter D. Hart Research Associates nor NBC/WSJ are responsible for these conclusions.)