A new day brings a new poll with bad news for the president. The Wall Street Journal-NBC poll pegs his approval at 45 percent (statistically tied with his low of 44 percent), with 50 percent disapproving of his performance. That puts him where George W. Bush was at this point in his second term. That’s not all. In this poll, for the first time, his disapproval rating in foreign policy matches his approval (46 percent). And voters disapprove of Obamacare by a 13 point margin (47 to 34 percent). It is worth noting that the sample for this poll reflects a 10-point win for Obama in 2012; the actual number was closer to 3 percent.
Overall Obama’s approval is below 45 percent. So there is little doubt why the poll-centric White House is sending him out on the campaign trail. But it’s not clear that simply repeating past positions and slamming the GOP will do the trick.
Obama’s numbers have been collapsing since April. The causes of the decline may be related to his sequester-hyping, multiple scandals, the failure of gun control legislation, international stumbles (in Syria, Russia), the president’s wishy-washy defense of NSA surveillance programs and-or the president’s divisiveness on the George Zimmerman trial. But looming above it all is hobbled Obamacare, arguably the only significant “achievement” of his domestic agenda. Democrats aren’t thrilled; independents have had their suspicions confirmed. The delay in the employer mandate may have galvanized the sentiment that this president simply doesn’t have it together.
What we do know is that there is a certain point in a president’s term (for Bush 43 it was Katrina) when the voters have had it. They’ve heard it all and are fed up with the incumbent. They, fairly or not, hold him responsible for the bad stuff and don’t credit him with the good stuff.
It is hard to believe the White House expects to flip the House. If the Senate is lost, however, the president might finally have to engage in some deal-making on the budget, taxes and energy. Ironically, that now seems the only hope to rescue his second term.