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Ohio’s Ominous Political Storm Clouds

If there is one set of polling data that must be sending chills down the spine of President Obama and his political aides, this is it:

President Barack Obama gets a lackluster 49 – 44 percent approval rating in Ohio, considered by many to be the most important swing state in a presidential election, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. This is President Obama’s lowest approval rating in any national or statewide Quinnipiac University poll since he was inaugurated and is down from 62 – 31 percent in a May 6 survey.

By a small 48 – 46 percent margin, voters disapprove of the way Obama is handling the economy… This is down from a 57 – 36 percent approval May 6….  “Now, by a 48 – 46 percent margin, Ohio independent voters give the President a failing grade on the economy. These numbers indicate that he may be losing, at least for now, some of those who voted for him in November and should be an indication to the White House that his honeymoon with the voters may be ending,” [according to Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute].

Among independents, only one in three people in Ohio approve of Obama’s handling of the economy — and his overall job approval rating among independents is only 38 percent.

These findings are significant in several respects. First, Ohio is not Mississippi. It is arguably the most important state in American politics today and usually a pretty good indicator of what the nation is thinking. For Obama’s approval ratings to drop below 50 percent there is a troubling, and potentially quite damaging, development. And his loss among independents is simply startling.

One should quickly insert the caveat that the results of the Quinnipiac Poll come from a single survey. At the same time, the results correspond with other national trends we are seeing.

Obama’s overall job approval-rating is now under 60 percent in the RealClearPolitics poll averages. The President tends to be weakest on the issue most important to the American public right now: the economy. In addition, Obama is viewed as more and more liberal in a nation that is becoming somewhat more conservative. The effects of Obama’s spending on the deficit and debt are increasingly turning into a source of public concern. And if/when Obama breaks his pledge not to raise taxes on families earning less than $250,000 per year, public opposition and anger toward him will rise even more. His credibility, already damaged because of his assurance that the stimulus package would keep unemployment from exceeding 8 percent this year (it is likely to top 10 percent), will absorb a much more powerful blow.

The storm clouds that have been amassing on the horizon are beginning to move overhead. The second most worrisome consideration for the President is that things may well get worse before they get better, particularly when it comes to unemployment. Such a development would not, by itself, be debilitating. After all, Ronald Reagan had to endure a very bad year in 1982 as he and Paul Volcker wrung stagflation out of the economy.

No, the most worrisome consideration for Obama is that his policies, rather than making things better, make things a good deal worse. The most harmful results of Obamaism are only now beginning to be felt. Once more times passes and Obama’s mistakes become more evident, we will see, I suspect, more and more trends similar to what we are seeing in Ohio. And concern among Congressional Democrats, which right now is fairly muted, will become vocal.

As the months pass, President Obama’s words and demeanor, which are his most formidable weapons, will be viewed as increasingly hollow and peripheral as the public judges him by the results of his actions.

This day was bound to come; it’s just coming a lot earlier than many people imagined.



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