The Post reports:
The public opinion boost President Obama received after the killing of Osama bin Laden has dissipated, and Americans’ disapproval of how he is handling the nation’s economy and the deficit has reached new highs, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The survey portrays a broadly pessimistic mood in the country this spring as higher gasoline prices, sliding home values and a disappointing employment picture have raised fresh concerns about the pace of the economic recovery.
The figures are grim for the Obama: “By 2 to 1, Americans say the country is pretty seriously on the wrong track, and nine in 10 continue to rate the economy in negative terms.”
Overall, his approval rating is back in negative territory (49 percent disapprove; 47 approve of his performance). About six in 10 disapprove of his handling of the economy and of the deficit.
On the plus side, support for the Afghanistan war has ticked up (52 percent approve). A large plurality of the respondents think the threat from al-Qaeda has not been significantly diminished by the assassination of Osama bin Laden. (The Republican neo-isolationists might want to think twice about whether there is a market for what they are peddling.)
Now, what of the GOP field. The Romney camp will no doubt tout the results showing that he leads the GOP field and that he is the only candidate leading the president in a face-to-face match up. It should hold the confetti. Given the high name recognition for Romney, it is hardly surprising that he “leads” the race. At this stage, Rudy Giuliani was atop the polls as well in 2007. As for the face-off, the message, I would suggest is this: Send us a competent, conservative with a focus on the economy and we’ll give him a shot. In other words, since the vast majority of voters know Romney better than the rest or find the other well-known contenders unacceptable (e.g., Sarah Palin), Romney is now essentially that “generic Republican” who could beat Obama. That is good news for the entire GOP field.
A final note: Mediscare is not denting the Republicans’ chances nor helping the president. Maybe, the Dems should focus on solving some of our economic woes rather than frightening old folks. Fear is not an agenda.