I’m a silver-lining kind of guy. No matter how bad the news or the experience, I will find the larger, positive lesson to be learned to move forward. The new polls from The Post/ABC News and the Wall Street Journal/NBC News on President Obama show that whatever silver lining there is for him is becoming decidedly gray.
Obama’s abysmal poll numbers aren’t new. Last week, I highlighted surveys from Pew Research Center and the Associated Press and pointed out how the bad poll numbers held promise for Obama. His job approval rating is much higher than that of Congress, and people personally like the guy. That remains the case in the surveys by The Post and the WSJ.
Obama’s approval rating in the Post/ABC poll is 43 percent, the lowest in this survey. But that of Republicans in Congress is 28 percent. Obama’s approval rating in the WSJ/NBC News poll is 44 percent. But the disapproval of Congress’s performance is at 82 percent, an all-time high.
The WSJ/NBC News poll highlights the most promising of silver linings for the president: 65 percent of respondents described him as “easygoing and likable.” That tracks with results released last week from the Pew Research Center.
Being likable is great. People still liking Obama means they still trust him enough to hear him out, give him a chance. But that will take him only so far. One of the more infamous encounters on the 2008 campaign trail between Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton was when he said, “You’re likable enough, Hillary. No doubt about it.”
What Obama must do, starting with his jobs speech Thursday night, is ensure that the darkening national mood — revealed in at least four national polls — doesn’t result in the electorate saying on Election Day 2012, “You’re likable enough, Barack. . . . But it’s time for someone new.”