By Dave Andrusko
We oldsters remember the famous quote attributed to President Johnson after watching CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite deliver a highly pessimistic editorial on the progress of the Vietnam War in 1968. Supposedly Johnson told aides, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.”
Well, Chuck Todd is hardly Cronkite—he is NBC’s political director—but when he delivers the latest news about Obama from a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in tones reserved for funerals you half-expect you’ll look back at this someday as a very telling point.
And that’s what I watched happen this morning as a grim Todd delivered the bad news to Today’s Matt Lauer and Ann Curry. Lauer set the stage for Todd by commenting that on the day parents were sending their kids back to school Obama and members of congress were getting their own report card. “The approval rating is not good,” Lauer said.
Todd went straight through the litany. Record low approval for the President (44%), record high disapproval (51%). Todd continued: 59% disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy (37% approve).
“You talk about pessimistic,” he went on. Another all-time high, the percentage who thinks the country is going in the wrong direction—73%!
There are lots of other problematic areas for Obama, including a diminished belief that he possesses strong leadership qualities (down to 42%) and as commander in chief (41%), handling a crisis (39%), and for achieving his goals (a dismal 27%). The “silver lining?”
“Over 70% still find him likeable.” (I am not making that up.)
But this is only one man and one poll. Others reinforce the point made by the Los Angeles Times’ James Oliphant: “A batch of new polls show Obama at the nadir of his presidency.”
An ABC/Washington Post poll released today found only 43% approving of Obama’s job performance, as contrasted with 53% who disapproved. A Politico/George Washington University poll has the President’s approval at 45%.
No doubt he was exaggerating in an attempt to gin up his fellow Democrats but pollster Peter Hart, who along with Republican pollster Bill McInturff conducted the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, said, “Obama is no longer the favorite to win re-election.”
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