Like most people, I expected passage of the Democrats’ government medicine bill to cause at least a temporary bump in President Obama’s popularity, as well as that of the legislation itself. And I thought the bounce could be substantial, since it hasn’t been entirely clear how many people didn’t approve of Obama because they thought he wasn’t getting enough done, as opposed to disagreeing with his left-wing agenda. So it’s been a relief to see how little impact passage of the bill has had.
Rasmussen’s Approval Index is the difference between the percentage of likely voters who strongly approve and who strongly disapprove of the President’s performance. Obama’s Approval Index went negative around the beginning of July and has been mired in negative territory ever since (i.e., more people strongly disapprove than strongly approve). The index has been as low as -21, and for a long time now, a plurality of voters strongly disapprove of the President’s performance.
President Obama got a significant but short-lived uptick from the State of the Union speech. Remarkably, passage of the health care bill had less impact, and that small positive effect has already faded. Currently, Obama’s Approval Index stands at a dismal -16 (28/44):
Overall, 47% of voters at least somewhat approve of Obama’s performance, while 53% disapprove. Rasmussen comments:
[Obama's] Approval Index rating is now back to where it was last Sunday, just before the House voted in favor of his health care plan. All the bouncing of the past week has come among Democrats. There has been virtually no change in the opinions of Republicans and unaffiliated voters.
If anything, Obama’s bounce in the Gallup Poll is weaker still. He tends to do better in that survey since it counts everyone, and doesn’t attempt to identify likely voters. Even so, the bump from passage of the health care bill is barely visible, and Obama is already back to break-even, with 46 percent both approving and disapproving of his performance:
Other polling suggests that the public hasn’t warmed to the health care takeover since it was enacted, and that most voters hope for the legislation’s repeal. This is confirmed by the Rasmussen and Gallup Presidential approval daily tracking polls. No doubt, if voters thought government health care was a good thing, its enactment would have a more positive impact on their view of President Obama. Thus, these numbers are ominous for the Democrats as they look toward November.
UPDATE: Consistent with all of the above, support for repeal of Obamacare is holding steady, with a majority supporting repeal.
PAUL adds: I suspect that Obama’s only hope for a bounce is a significantly improved economy, including a substantial reduction in joblessness.