The end of the Obama honeymoon?

March 20, 2013

We've grappled in this space with how long President Obama's second political honeymoon will last -- and what he might be able to accomplish in that time.


AP photo

In the immediate aftermath of his victory last November, President Obama's popularity surged and Republicans in Congress capitulated to him on the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling.

Of late, however, the optics surrounding sequestration seem to have negatively impacted President Obama -- with a new CNN poll showing his job approval rating dipping below 50 percent for the first time since September 2012.

And, there is more evidence that the national conversation has taken a turn for the worst for President Obama in the last two weeks. Using the "National Dialogue Monitor" (a tool that “tracks every time a celebrity, organization, issue or corporation is mentioned across all media channels — television, radio, newspapers, magazines, blogs, websites and social networks — measuring the associated volume, tone, and topics of each tracked entity"), the Republican consulting firm TargetPoint has built a chart that makes this very point. (Click on graphic for a bigger version.)

What the graphic shows is that "spending cuts" have been the dominant topic of discussion related to President Obama so far this month and that much of the sentiment around that conversation has been negative. Ditto "drones", "taxes" and "Israel-Palestine". The most talked-about issue where Obama is winning positive sentiment is, interestingly, the economy.

Of course, a single measure of national sentiment -- and that conducted by a Republican firm -- is worth taking cum grano salis. But, the chart does suggest that as time passes, the election fades and many of the same problems in the country persist, Obama's honeymoon period may well be ending (or have ended already).

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.
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