Commentary Magazine


Obama in the Red Zone

For the third day running, Barack Obama’s “Presidential Index” in the Daily Rasmussen Poll is Minus 22 – a huge disparity between the percentage that Strongly Approves of his performance (23) and the percentage that Strongly Disapproves (45). Minus 22 is his worst rating of the year, and the 45 percent that Strongly Disapproves exceeds the 43 percent that Strongly Disapproved of George W. Bush in his final month in office (Obama probably believes this is Bush’s fault).

Overall, 54 percent of likely voters disapprove and 44 percent approve of the president’s performance, but what seems most striking is that the 45 percent Strong Disapproval is approaching an absolute majority, and is a very high percentage of the Total Disapproval. In contrast, Obama’s Strong Approval is barely half his Total Approval, indicating relatively weak support. For a thousand words on this, look at the Boker tov, Boulder! chart this morning, which graphically illustrates the results.

At the beginning of the month, Obama’s negative presidential index was “only” Minus 13. It is hard to pinpoint the cause of the dramatic deterioration of his position during the last week (Rasmussen polls are a running three-day average, so the above polling actually covers six days). Perhaps it is a long content-less speech on the economy, a desultory press conference in Mexico, renewed public focus on ObamaCare as a Supreme Court decision nears, unemployment still above where it was supposed to be nearly a trillion dollars ago, extremely high gas prices, continued ineffectuality with Iran and Syria, national security-jeopardizing leaks, a Nixonian invocation of executive privilege, revelations of fictional characters in a belatedly-analyzed autobiography, endless fundraisers with the one percent, bridal-shower fundraising, too many emails asking for three dollars, transparent reversals of prior positions to pander to particular groups, Guinness-record golfing, lack of credible surrogates for talk shows, the absence of a second-term agenda, or the lack of an effective three-word campaign slogan.

It could be any of these things. It’s hard to tell.