What if the 2014 elections aren’t really about Obama, after all? At least for everyone other than tea party Republicans, that is?

A new McClatchy-Marist poll finds the president’s approval rating in familiarly low territory — 40 percent. But the poll also finds that a large majority of Americans say Obama is not a factor in their vote. As Aaron Blake notes, this is particularly true among swing voters:

The poll shows just 29 percent of Americans say Obama is a major factor in their vote, with another 17 percent saying he’s a minor factor. A majority, meanwhile, says Obama has no effect whatsoever on whom they vote for (52 percent).

In addition, most of those who say the election for them is about Obama are already partisans — 48 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of Republicans. Among independents, just 37 percent cite Obama as either a major (22 percent) or a minor factor (15 percent) factor in their vote. Six in 10 say he doesn’t matter one lick.

What’s more, Obama is only a major factor for tea party Republicans, and not a factor at all even for Republicans who don’t identify with the tea party. A plurality of Republicans who support the tea party (44 percent) say he’s a major factor. Meanwhile, a majority of tea party Republicans who don’t support the tea party (51 percent!) say Obama is not a factor at all.

This split gets even more pronounced when you look at the numbers on the House GOP lawsuit against the president and on impeachment. A large majority of Americans (58 percent) oppose the lawsuit. Tea party Republicans support it by 69-26, while non-tea party Republicans actually tilt against it by 45-43.

Meanwhile, only tea party Republicans support impeaching the president: They back that course of action by 52-43, while non-tea party Republicans oppose it by 56-36.

All this underscores once again that this lawsuit is about keeping hard-core GOP base voters in a lather right through election day, giving them something that will (temporarily, at least) quiet the baying for impeachment. Of course, with a majority of tea [artyers favoring impeachment, if and when Obama pursues executive action on deportations this fall, some namby-pamby lawsuit may well no longer cut it and that baying could grow a whole lot louder.

* HILLARY CLINTON VERSUS OBAMA ON FOREIGN POLICY: Hillary Clinton’s criticism of Obama on foreign policy in her interview with Jeffrey Goldberg gets a full write-up in the New York Times, which observes:

Mrs. Clinton is suggesting that she and the president hold different views on how best to project American power: His view is cautious, inward-looking, suffused with a sense of limits, while hers is muscular, optimistic, unabashedly old-fashioned. “You know, when you’re down on yourself, and when you are hunkering down and pulling back, you’re not going to make any better decisions than when you were aggressively, belligerently putting yourself forward,” Mrs. Clinton said to Mr. Goldberg.

These sorts of differences were in part why Clinton lost to Obama in 2008. There seems to be no concern about where Dem primary voters might be on these matters right now (or perhaps a confidence that there is no serious challenger out there).

* OBAMA AIDES PUSH BACK: Clinton seems to be faulting Obama for failing to arm the Syrian rebels, and in the above New York Times link, we see some pushback from the Obama camp:

At the time of the Obama administration’s internal debate over that decision, several officials said, Mrs. Clinton’s advocacy was far less thunderous: The United States had tried every diplomatic gambit with Syria, she said, and nothing else had worked, so why not try funneling weapons to the moderate rebels.

Meanwhile, Obama has privately pushed back hard against the criticism, dismissing it with an epithet and declaring the idea that arming the rebels would have made a difference is a fantasy.

* WHY HILLARY IS DISTANCING FROM OBAMA: Juliet Eilperin has a good overview of the developing schism, including this:

The surprisingly direct critique… foreshadows the unusual political challenges facing Clinton as she accentuates her foreign policy credentials while trying to avoid blame for the nation’s defensive posture in an increasingly unstable world…“It’s in her political interest to begin to distance herself from an unpopular president and to drive home the fact that she’s risk-ready while Obama’s risk-averse,” said Aaron David Miller, vice president for new initiatives at the Wilson Center.

This is in her interest? Really? Based on what?

* DEMS HAMMER DAVID PERDUE IN GEORGIA: Michelle Nunn, the Dem candidate for Senate in Georgia, is up with a tough new ad blasting opponent David Perdue for presiding over companies that moved jobs abroad, which is contrasted with her tenure as “CEO of the world’s largest volunteer organization.” In this battle over which candidate’s non-Washington experience best qualifies him or her to go to Washington, Dems are rolling out the same playbook used to discredit Mitt Romney’s private sector experience.

* IN IOWA, BRUCE BRALEY TRIES TO BOOST POSITIVES: Dem Senate candidate Bruce Braley is up with a minute-long spot featuring a father thanking Braley for championing sexual-assault bill he championed that was named after his daughter.

The spot comes amid a series of missteps by Braley that Republicans have sought to exploit to paint him as out of touch with Iowa and to drive up his negatives. The race remains a dead heat, though Dems remain convinced voters still have not been introduced to Joni Ernst’s extreme positions on multiple issues.

* ANOTHER OBAMACARE DISASTER FAILS TO MATERIALIZE: Joshua Green has a nice catch here: We are now learning that premiums are not going to “skyrocketing,” as some warned (hoped), and as Green notes, those who made this prediction seem to have gone oddly quiet. The big story:

The story of Obamacare over the last year has in many ways been a story about how the various claims made by conservatives about why the law would collapse have systematically fallen apart.

So, yeah, something fell apart. It just wasn’t Obamacare.

 

 

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.