President Obama is now within spitting distance of Carter Country.
According to Gallup’s Daily Tracking Poll, Obama’s approval rating has fallen to 38 percent, and his disapproval rating has risen to 55 percent, both new records for him. These are depression-inducing numbers for Obama supporters. This has been a brutal summer for the president; he is rapidly digging himself a hole so deep it might soon be nearly impossible for him to climb out of it. No president since Harry Truman has won re-election with numbers this bad, this late into his first term.
As a reference point, Jimmy Carter’s approval rating for the period September 7-10, 1979 – a roughly comparable period in their presidencies – was 30 percent approval and 55 percent disapproval. Obama’s approval rating among independent voters is 35 percent while Carter’s was 30 percent. (Carter’s approval rating in early January 1980 shot up to 56 percent, only to begin another downward trend that lasted for most of the rest of the year). Add to that the fact Americans’ satisfaction with the way things are going in the country is now 11 percent, below even what it was during the Carter presidency.
Obama is clearly in a perilous situation.
The president can already count among his political achievements having been the architect of a disastrous mid-term election for Democrats. How much more can they expect to take until the president has a full-scale intra-party revolt on his hands? We’ve seen indications of unhappiness here and there (like Representative Maxine Waters voicing anger at the president). But if this downward trend continues for a few more weeks, we could well reach a critical mass of concern and anger directed at the president by members of his own party – a growing sense Obama is going down and will (continue to) take his party down with him. What response this might elicit from Democrats would be fascinating to watch.
Desperate politicians can make for interesting politics.