For the better part of the last two years, President Obama’s saving grace has been his image as a strong leader who people like and trust, regardless of the issues of the day.

Even that is starting to erode.

A new Pew Research Center survey shows the American people are increasingly skeptical about the president’s leadership bona fides.

A record high number of people say that Obama is not a strong leader (47 percent), can’t get things done (50 percent), isn’t well-informed (33 percent), is not a good communicator (22 percent) and doesn’t stand up for what he believes in (22 percent).

It’s hardly the picture of a man with major image problems, but the numbers do represent some of the first cracks in in the image Obama has crafted for himself, and that could lead to problems down the line.

As in other polls, the Pew poll shows Obama’s approval rating hitting a new low — 43 percent. What’s more, the percentage of people who “very strongly” disapprove of him has risen to it’s highest level yet, 38 percent.

Much of the erosion has come as a result of new questions about the president’s leadership qualities.

In May, just 37 percent of people said the president wasn’t a strong leader, and 38 percent said he wasn’t able to “get things done.” Three months later, both of those numbers have risen by double digits.

Relatively low numbers of people say Obama isn’t a good communicator and that he’s not well-informed, but even those numbers have reached new highs.

When it comes to his decision-making, an increasing number of people are critical of how he has handled things. While 34 percent of people in April said that he balanced things about right when negotiating with Republicans, just 26 percent say that’s now the case.

All of these numbers have fallen in the aftermath of the debt ceiling debate — in which nearly everybody involved took a political hits.

But the fact that Obama’s leadership numbers have fallen more than his other numbers suggests that there has been a shift in how he is viewed as a person. He’s still far more popular than the two major political parties, but he’s got problems too.

We’ve often pointed at the president’s personal favorability rating — which has been about 10 points higher than his job approval — as evidence that people genuinely like the president and give him the benefit of the doubt.

But as the country’s economic woes continue, people may begin to question how capable he is as president, and that’s when personal favorability will no longer save him.

Palin weighs in on Libya: Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has weighed in on the situation in Libya on her Facebook page, in a long statement urging the White House to avoid “triumphalism.”

“We should work through diplomatic means to help those who want democracy to come out on top,” she writes. “That said, we should not commit U.S. troops or military assets to serve as peacekeepers or perform humanitarian missions or nation-building in Libya.”

While Palin has criticized Obama on Libya in the past, the policy-driven, formally worded statement is the sort of thing that fuels rumors that Palin will, in fact, run for president.

Kimball won’t go quietly: New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Jack Kimball, elected this January, says he will not step down despite pressure from his fellow Republicans.

“Those who seek to remove me from my duly elected position must recognize that I represent a movement – a political moment – much larger than myself,” he said . “I plead with them not to pick this fight. It will only damage the party and cause unnecessary division.”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H) and a majority of the party’s executive board have called for new leadership in response to weak fundraising and complaints from members about the chairman.

Kimball is set to face a vote that could remove him from his post.

Report: Neumann to run for Senate: Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R), as expected, will have to earn his party’s nomination in the open Wisconsin Senate race.

Former congressman Mark Neumann, fresh off a loss in the state’s governor primary last year, is set to announce a Senate campaign, according to National Journal.

Thompson has problems on his right, and Neumann brings personal money to the race, which should help him get his campaign off the ground. He also may get the support of the Club for Growth, which has already expressed its opposition to Thompson and has a former Neumann staffer as its executive vice president.

However, look to see if other Republicans get in the race. As far as Thompson is concerned, the more the merrier.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Tammy Baldwin is the most likely nominee.


No criminal charges will be filed in the Wisconsin Supreme Court scuffle.

Mitt Romney has taken to telling personal anecdotes on the campaign trail.

Romney goes all Chris Christie on us.

Former George W. Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino urges Rick Perry to distance himself from Bush.

Peggy Noonan doesn’t like Perry’s “quick draw machismo.”

A new AP-Gfk poll suggests that Republicans came out of the debt ceiling debate in worse shape than the Democrats.

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) says no more anonymous Twitter feeds from his staff.


Health law puts governors in pickle” — Jonathan Weisman, Wall Street Journal

Five reasons why Sarah Palin will run (and five reasons why she won’t)” — James Oliphant, Los Angeles Times


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