By Dave Andrusko
When even a prominent Democratic polling firm and POLITICO are sounding alarms, maybe this “smoke” does indicate a real fire.
First this from a more objective source: Gallup reported today that President Obama “Maintains” [strange choice of words] Sub-50% Job Approval in 10th Quarter.” The precise figure is 46.8%, the sixth straight quarter Obama has received less than majority approval,” according to Gallup’s Lydia Saad.
Saad tells us this is too early to draw any conclusions from these numbers about Obama’s re-election chances: “ History suggests Obama’s 12th and 13th quarter ratings are likely to be much more valuable in this respect.”
Public Policy Polling has less hesitation. “There’s a very good chance Barack Obama would lose if he had to stand for re-election today,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “This is his worst poll standing in a long time and he really needs the economy to start turning around.”
Really? Is it just that PPP shows Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney tied at 45%, “the first time the president has lost a lead over any GOP rival”? Or that Obama’s approval rating in the PPP survey is 46%, as compared with 48% who disapprove of his performance?
No. It’s much more. Consider, on the one hand that 16% of Democrats are unhappy with the job Obama is doing while, on the other hand, only 10% of Republicans give him good marks.
In addition, PPP finds Obama down among Independents with 49% disapproving to 44% approving.
Actually, there are other polls that are much worse for the President.
As we discussed yesterday, Gallup found that “Independent registered voters are currently more likely to vote for [a generic] Republican candidate (44%) than for Obama (34%), though one in five do not have an opinion.”
According to the Associated Press’s David Jackson, there is one other particularly ominous finding for Obama in the PPP poll.
“Here’s an important note on all of this early 2012 polling,” he writes. “Obama’s numbers are worse than they appear to be on the surface. The vast majority of the undecideds in all of these match ups disapprove of the job Obama’s doing but aren’t committing to a candidate yet while they wait to see how the Republican field shakes out.”
An aside, which may be important, or it may not. If there is one “given” in the coverage to date it is that President Obama will have a mind-boggingly large amount of money to campaign for re-election.
But there is a story in today’s POLITICO which does not dispute Obama’s ability to again rake in hundreds of millions of dollars. But what the story does suggest is that professional Democratic Party operatives have replaced “determined, inspired supporters”–volunteers– in trolling for the big bucks.
While there are a variety of new gatherers, “the largest new cohort is the permanent Democratic fundraising class, most of whom bet on [Hillary] Clinton in 2008,” write Ben Smith and Maggie Haberman and Byron Tau. “And their sharp elbows and desire for credit haven’t gone over well with the early, more idealistic donors.”
Again, at least according to POLITICO, Obama is on pace to raise as much money as he did for the 2008 campaign. And while the Obama campaign denies an “enthusiasm gap,” what they probably could not evade is that “the identity and mood of the campaign is very different.”
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