The Washington Post/ABC poll that came out this morning and showed President Obama’s approval slipping has gotten a lot of attention. Just a few minutes ago, a New York Times/CBS poll came out that pointed in the same direction: Obama Approval Rating Shows Big Slip in Poll:
Despite improving job growth and an extended Republican primary fight dividing his would-be opponents [Ed.: The Times can hardly bear to report these poll data, and can't resist prefacing its story with "how can this be?"], President Obama is heading into the general election season on treacherous political ground, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. …
[T]he poll found … 41 percent of respondents expressing approval of the job he is doing and 47 percent saying they disapprove — a dangerous position for any incumbent seeking re-election.
There are several interesting features of this poll. First, Obama’s approval is dropping even as voters’ perceptions of the economy are improving. Second, the Democrats’ effort to distract voters with the social issues doesn’t seem to have succeeded:
In the head-to-head matchups, Mr. Obama also maintained much of the advantage he had built in the last year among important constituencies, including women, although he lost some support among women over the past month, even as the debate raged over birth control insurance coverage.
Finally, I haven’t had an opportunity to examine the poll’s internals, but this seems telling:
Mr. Obama’s drop was particularly pronounced among low-income households that may be feeling the pinch of the higher gas prices — as well as increases in prices for groceries and some retail items — more than others.
I think this is a key point. If you are an affluent, inside the Beltway liberal, the explosive increases in gasoline and food prices that have marked the Obama administration are an annoyance, provided that you even notice them. But families of modest means have to give something up every time the prices of gas and groceries rise. The wealthy have fared reasonably well during the Obama years, but poorer and middle-income families have been devastated. If they are starting to get fed up–as they certainly should be–Obama’s re-election chances may be doomed.
UPDATE: This made me laugh: the Times has changed the headline on its story from “Obama Approval Rating Shows Big Slip in Poll” to “Obama’s Rating Falls as Poll Reflects Volatility.” In other words, we at the Times are hoping that Obama’s rating will soon bounce back up again, and we will do all we can to make it happen.