Obama’s base grows disenchanted


President Obama takes off his jacket as he attends a town hall meeting at Facebook headquarters with CEO Mark Zuckerberg in April. (REUTERS/Jim Young)

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows those who supported his 2008 election leaving the president in unprecedented numbers.

The number of Obama 2008 voters who approve of his job performance is down to 79 percent, and on the economy, it’s 70 percent. Both are new lows for the president.

What’s more, some of his natural constituencies — liberals and young people — are also backing away. Just 69 percent of liberals say they approve of the president’s performance, while 47 percent of 18-to-29 year olds do. Those are also new lows, and it’s the first time the youngest demographic has dipped below 50 percent approval for Obama.

It’s more in a long line of polling data that paints a bad picture for Obama in recent weeks. But given the unprecedented coalition that the president put together in 2008, these numbers are particularly troubling.

Obama’s win in 2008 was particularly notable for the amount of young people who turned out to vote for him. And vote for him they did, casting ballots about two-to-one for the Democrat.

These days, just 41 percent of 18-to-29 year olds approve of Obama’s handling of the economy, and 45 percent approve of him on jobs.

Combine that with the erosion Obama has seen among liberals and independents, and the question is: what is Obama’s base for the 2012 election?

As we’ve discussed on this blog many times, enthusiasm is half the battle when it comes to winning elections. Obama turned out many people who had never voted or volunteered before four years ago, and many of them don’t appear to keen on the job he has done as president.

The opposition, meanwhile, is very motivated. A new poll from a GOP polling consortium shows those critical of Obama’s job performance are much more intense than his supporters.

The Resurgent Republic poll, which was conducted by Ayres, McHenry and Associates and is set to be released today, shows those who think Obama’s policies have made the economy “much worse” outnumber those who think they have made it “much better,” 32 percent to 13 percent. Among independents, it’s an even-bigger gap, 33 percent to 6 percent.

On his overal job approval rating, those who strongly disapprove outnumber those strongly approving 36 percent to 23 percent, including 37 percent to 14 percent among independents.

The poll also shows 45 percent of people strongly disapprove of his handling of the economy, including 48 percent of independents.

Given the gap between those strongly defending Obama and those strongly opposing him, the pollsters argue, people unhappy with Obama will be much more active than those who support him. And that’s a completely fair assumption.

Seeing Obama voters from 2008 switch over to Republican would be the worst-case scenario for Obama, but seeing them stay home and not help out or donate money would also be a major drag on his 2012 campaign.

Another interesting number from the Resurgent Republic poll: 60 percent of people said Obama turned out to be a weaker president than they thought he would be.

That tracks pretty closely with the numbers we’ve seen in other polls, and it suggests a country — along with a base — that has fallen out of love with the idea of President Obama, even if many of his 2008 supporters still like him as a person.

There is still plenty of time for those supporters to come back, and they may do just that when the Republicans pick a candidate — especially if the Obama campaign can successfully make an issue of the GOP nominee, as it hopes to.

And keeping 79 percent of your supporters on board isn’t horrible. But it does show a significant erosion of the base. And Obama will need many of the other 21 percent to turn out for him.

Pro-Perry super PAC budgets $55 million for primary: A new super PAC supporting Rick Perry’s campaign is aiming to raise $55 million for the primary, including $45 million by the end of March, according to NBC’s Michael Isikoff.

The Make Us Great Again super PAC’s goal is ambitious and shows just how prominent these super PACs will be in the primary process. Given Perry’s late entry into the race, $55 million could be more than the candidate himself is able to raise for the primary.

For what it’s worth, a PAC spokesman said the document is outdated.

Fixbits:

Teamsters head James Hoffa isn’t backing off his comments about the tea party, while ABC’s Jake Tapper presses White House press secretary Jay Carney on whether comments made by surrogates are fair game in the 2012 campaign.

Former California governor candidate Meg Whitman endorses Mitt Romney. But did she take a shot at Perry?

Former senator John Ensign (R-Nev.) sends $5,000 to the GOP’s special election candidate in Nevada.

Rudy Giuliani admits what we already knew: he would have a hard time winning the Republican nomination.

Dick Cheney won’t acknowledge making mistakes as vice president.

Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock (D) will enter the state’s open governor race Wednesday, as expected.

Kentucky GOP governor candidate David Williams has an ethics complaint dropped. And he goes on the air.

More details on who’s running where on the newly overhauled California congressional map.

Must-reads:

Republican ‘Young Guns’ make history, draw fire” — Thomas Ferraro, Reuters

Our Guide to the Best Coverage of Newt Gingrich and His Record” — Braden Goyette, ProPublica

Most Incumbents in 30 Years May Lose” — Greg Giroux, Bloomberg

Read more on PostPolitics.com

Fact Checker: Obama’s whopper on tax cuts

Hoffa stands by Labor Day remarks

The rise and fall of Michele Bachmann

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