Poll numbers continue to bring bad news to the Obama administration, with a recent CBS News survey showing the president’s approval at a Bush-level 37 percent (see a good write-up about the poll here). Other questions in the poll show troubling news for the president, as well. Only 31 percent of respondents approve of his health care law, with 61 percent disapproving.
Take a look at this question on the law, broken down by party:
Things get just as interesting when you look at party splits for the president’s general approval numbers. Not surprisingly, a majority of Democrats still view the president favorably. The CBS poll shows that 73 percent of Democrats approve of him while 19 percent don’t. But just a month ago, 81 percent of Democrats approved of him, with 14 percent giving him a thumbs-down.
This jibes with Gallup polls that show the president’s approval among Dems is at 76 percent, having hovered around 80 percent for months.
If that seems high to you, consider this: Republicans gave similar numbers to George W. Bush. At Bush’s lowest points in Gallup, he still had nearly 70 percent approval from Republicans.
And if you think about it, you can understand why. The left was pounding on Bush relentlessly. Even a Republican who was disappointed in him would probably not have wanted to add to that barrage when called on by a pollster.
It’s reasonable to assume a similar approach is happening with Barack Obama. Democrats have seen the onslaught of bad news and know he’s in trouble. They might be irritated with him, too, but once they pick up a phone and hear a pollster wants to hear their opinion, how likely is it they’ll pile on to the growing heap of criticism by giving him an unfavorable?
I think it would even be reasonable to estimate that 10 to 20 percent of that Democratic thumbs-up is mushy at best, if not outright false.
The president is in trouble, deep trouble. As Senate and House Democrats realize this, they’ll start to peel away from him and his policies, including the Affordable Care Act.
But who knows where they’ll head. Let’s hope Republicans have something good to offer that gives the discontents something to rally around.