After weeks of dipping numbers, two new polls spell trouble for Barack Obama. A Washington Post/ABC News survey shows the president in decline even among his core 2008 supporters.
Obama’s approval rating among his 2008 voters is down to 79 percent, and on the economy it is all the way down to 70 percent. Just 69 percent of liberals approve of his performance in office, as do only 47 percent of voters between the ages of 18 to 29.
Finally bearing the cost of hope and change, a mere 41 percent of 18-to-29-year-old voters approve of Obama’s handling of the economy and 45 percent give him positive marks on jobs. Liberals and young voters are two of the most pro-Obama voting blocs.
At the same time the president is showing signs of erosion among his base, a Republican polling consortium found him underwater among swing voters. The latest Resurgent Republic poll shows those who think Obama’s policies have made the economy “much worse” outnumber those who think they have made it “much better,” 32 percent to 13 percent. Among independents, it’s 33 percent to 6 percent.
Those who strongly disapprove of the president’s overall job performance outnumber those strongly approving 36 percent to 23 percent. Again among independents, it’s 37 percent to 14 percent among independents. Fully 45 percent disapprove of his handling of the economy, including 48 percent of independents. Sixty percent said that Obama turned out to be a weaker president than they expected.
It’s long been clear that the country was ready to replace Obama as president if the opposition could come up with a viable alternative. Americans were in much the same place with George W. Bush in 2004, who nevertheless won reelection with a little less than 51 percent of the popular vote. But these two polls suggest that Obama is an even weaker position than Bush was back then — with his base lukewarm, swing voters against him, and the opposition still fairly intense, Obama could lose a 50-50 base election.
According to one cliché among political observers, there are referendum elections and choice elections. Barring an economic turnaround, Obama was always going to be in trouble if the election turned out to be a referendum on his presidency. If these numbers hold, it won’t be smooth sailing even if the election is a choice between him and a flawed Republican.