Barack Obama has enjoyed perhaps the longest honeymoon in presidential history, but I think it's safe to say that it is now over. Obama's second term has sent his popularity and his policy agenda into a tailspin that even I didn't see coming.
A new Fox News poll finds that for the first time ever, more than half of voters find Obama unlikeable. His personal popularity is down to 47%, while 51% have a negative opinion of Obama. That's really important because for the longest time – despite his failure to re-start our economy or lead on issues that Americans really care about – Obama's popularity has remained virtually untarnished. That is now starting to change, and it will impede his ability to implement his policies throughout the rest of his term. He's shown himself to be an inadequate leader, but at least he was popular enough to be persuasive. He's losing that very quickly, even if he tries to deny it.
This trend isn't just appearing among Fox News. Consider the latest findings from Quinnipiac on voter approval in the crucial swing state of Ohio: “President Obama's job approval rating in Ohio has fallen to an all-time low, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University. Only 40 percent of voters in the Buckeye State currently approve of the job Obama is doing as president, while 57 percent disapprove.” These are the very voters who played a key role in Obama's re-election! What has changed? Here's a start …
Just take a look at some other findings in the Fox News poll: “By a 61-32 percent margin, voters disapprove of how Barack Obama is handling the NSA program to gather phone and Internet records.” That's a pretty significant margin on a pretty big scandal. It's about time that his policy and leadership failures affect his personal approval ratings. Especially when it comes to the NSA story, I believe it is because it shows Obama to be a hypocrite who once railed against the very policies we've come to learn have been expanded under his administration.
The Politico describes Obama as “in the doldrums” and his presidency “in a dead zone.” The Washington Post has a piece out today, “Passion fades for President Obama among Democrats.” In trying to analyze why that may be the case, the Washington Post considers the following: The election-high fading, lack of second term accomplishments, and an administration now up to its eye balls in scandal. I would also add to that the prolonged inability to grow our economy. Just today we learned that first quarter growth in the US was cut from 2.4% down to a paltry 1.8%. Consumer spending was also cut from earlier estimates. There are still four million fewer Americans working today than when the recession began. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Even if the rate of hiring doubled, it would take more than three years to get employment back to its prerecession level, after adjusting for population growth, according to estimates from the Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project.” Combine this brooding frustration with the scandals and lack of leadership and it's pretty easy to understand why Obama is fading in the polls. Finally.