“You can fool some of the people some of the time.” That quote is not attributed to Barack Obama, but he should be well-acquainted by now with the wisdom of P.T. Barnum, who is also credited (incorrectly according to one site) with saying, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
A new CNN/ORC poll suggests that a majority of Americans are wise to the president. Only 4 out of 10 Americans believe he is up to the job of managing the federal government effectively. In addition, a majority, 53%, of Americans believe Obama is not honest and trustworthy, a first in CNN polling.
According to CNN Polling Director Keating Holland:
A lot of attention has focused on the President’s numbers on honesty in new polling the past three weeks, but it looks like the recent controversy over Obamacare has had a bigger impact on his status as an effective manager of the government, and that may be what is really driving the drop in Obama’s approval rating this fall.
Asked when being an effective manager counts more than honesty, Holland answered:
Just ask Bill Clinton, whose overall approval ratings remained high during and after the Monica Lewinsky scandal because three-quarters of all Americans thought he could get things done, even though only about one in five said he was honest.
If Obama is looking for the silver lining elsewhere in this survey, he won’t find in a question asking whether he is a person people admire. Fifty-six percent said he is not a person, and an equal number disagree with him on important issues. Fifty-six percent says he does not inspire confidence, and 53% don’t view him as a strong and decisive leader. All of those figures are all-time records for Obama in CNN polling.
What good news there is for the president resides in a question as to whether he has a vision for the country’s future. Six in 10 says he does, though that question seems fairly open-ended. Respondents were not asked whether that vision would lead to advances or improvements in the economy or the nation’s standing in the world.
Perhaps the most painful poll for Obama to absorb is one conducted last week for ABC News/Washington Post, which revealed that if voters had to do it over again, they’d pick Mitt Romney as president.