President Obama and the State of the Union Address: Part Two of Two

 

By Dave Andrusko

ObamaStateoftheUnionWhen I first posted “President Obama and the State of the Union Address: Part One of Two” earlier today, somehow I had missed a weekend story about the Washington Post-ABC News poll of 1,003 adults which included this stunning conclusion from the Post’s Dan Balz and Peyton M. Craighill:

“Just 37 percent say they have either a good amount or a great deal of confidence in the president to make the right decisions for the country’s future, while 63 percent say they do not, numbers that are the mirror image of what they were when he was sworn into office in 2009 and lower than at any other time the question was asked by The Washington Post and ABC News.”

Almost two-thirds of public lack confidence! But that’s just one troubling index for the President.

“And while…the president’s overall approval rating is about even, 46-50 percent, strong disapproval of his job performance exceeds strong approval by 18 points,” Balz and Craighill report. “With little for his backers to rally around, there’s simply more mojo among his critics.”

Then there is the ObamaCare albatross. Asked about how Obama had handled the implementation of the health-care law, only 37% approved and 59% disapproved. ABC News’ Gary Langer put the result more bluntly:

“The president does worse yet – 59 percent negative – on implementation of the Affordable Care Act [ObamaCare]. Indeed, just 19 percent rate him strongly positively on this issue, vs. 50 percent strongly negatively – a vast 31-point net negative for Obama in strong views on his handling of the ACA. … Sixty-nine percent of those polled said they believe that Obamacare will be an important factor when they decide where to cast their ballot in November. Other important factors include the federal deficit and the way Washington is working.”

Let me cite two other results from Langer which tie back into what we wrote about earlier this morning.

“As noted in last month’s ABC/Post poll, Obama’s five-year average rating is lower than his two-term predecessors’ in available data back to Harry S. Truman, although, to be fair, Obama’s had a singularly bad economy. He’s also experienced more political polarization than any president in available ABC/Post data back to Ronald Reagan.”

And

“Another key rating reflects the sense of separation the presidential bubble can create: Just 47 percent now say Obama ‘understands the problems of people like you,’ tying his low, while 52 percent says he doesn’t – a new high, albeit by a single point. A sense of empathy can provide cartilage for a president when the road gets rough – and was an essential edge for Obama in the 2012 election. Losing it is a problem for the president.”

Remember the first post was built on a spoon-fed story to the Washington Post where Obama administration types and their allies vowed they would go to the mattresses to implement whatever agenda he has in mind.

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That would be done by lobbying Congress (although there is slim chance the President will do little of something he so obviously hates); Executive Orders (which he adores—none of that messy working with the House and Senate); and running around the country trashing Republicans (which Mr. Obama loves most of all).

None of this “compromise” talk is the position his liberal allies are said to be encouraging the President to assume, as if meeting in the middle was Standard Operating Procedure for President Obama rather than behavior as rare as hen’s teeth.

But does this make sense when the public is growing more and more and more distrustful of his basic competency; of his ability to make the right decisions for the country; of his polarizing impact; and most of all of a diminished sense that he understands the average American’s problems?

The only thing he seems to have left is (as we talked about at nrlc.cc/1jYcnWc) that his likeability numbers have somehow gone up in a new Associated Press/GfK poll.

My question is this. The public has cut Mr. Obama a lot of slack going all the way back to 2008. Given what we learn from the Washington Post/ABC News survey, is the typical American going to take kindly to yet another round of Republican-bashing, another hour and 20 minute harangue in which Mr. Obama blames all the failures of his administration on House Majority Leader John Boehner?

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