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Gloomy Day

It is a rainy, gloomy day in Washington—and not just outside. At the White House, they are certainly perusing the latest Gallup poll, which has this:

Obama’s job approval ratings on handling the economy can be divided into two phases. In the most recent three measurements — taken over the last two months — his economic rating has held between 46% and 48%. Earlier in his administration — from February through May — Obama’s economic ratings were higher, between 55% and 59%.

Now 51 percent disapprove, while 46 percent approve. On health care:

Despite the intensity with which the healthcare debate has been waged in recent months, and President Obama’s ongoing involvement in that debate, there has been little change in the way Americans view Obama’s handling of healthcare policy across Gallup surveys conducted in July and August, and in the current Sept. 11-13 survey. Obama’s approval rating on healthcare has been 43% or 44% in all three surveys, and his disapproval rating has varied only slightly — between 49% and 52%.

Now 52 percent disapprove and 43 percent approve. So much for the big speech.

But this should be the real wake-up call:

President Obama’s approval rating on handling the federal budget deficit is down from 49% in March to 38% today, with at least a slight drop in each of the three surveys that followed the initial March reading. The president’s current 38% approval on handling the deficit, and the accompanying 58% disapproval, is thus his worst rating to date on the issue, and the most negative reading on any of the seven issues tested in this survey.

He’s doing best, ironically, where he has continued his predecessor’s policy most closely. Fifty-six percent approve of his handling of Iraq.

The bottom line, Gallup explains, is sobering for the White House:

Obama’s relative weaknesses at this time, as measured by public approval of the job he is doing handing various issues, would appear to be the deficit, healthcare, and the economy. The fact that there has been no change since July in Americans’ ratings of how Obama is handling healthcare or the economy suggests that Americans’ views on these issues may have become fairly entrenched — unless and until new administration or legislative actions are forthcoming to deal with either.

But the White House is convinced we just haven’t seen enough of the president, so out he will go to explain it to us all once again. A common failing of White House advisers, reluctant to blame their policies or their boss, is to characterize problems as “communications” failures. In fact, what we have is a policy failure, which will persist no matter how many talk shows Obama does.



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