A new McClatchy-Marist poll finds President Obama’s approval rating to be only 41 percent, a sharp drop from April when his rating was 50 percent. Forty-eight percent disapprove of Obama’s performance, up from 46 percent in April.
The McClatchy-Marist result is less favorable to Obama than the RCP average, which stands at 45.8 approval and 48.2 disapproval. However, McClatchy-Marist isn’t an outlier. Of the six most recent polls cited by RCP, three show Obama “underwater” by 6 or 7 points.
Team Obama probably also views its man as underwater; hence the “pivot” to the economy. Pollster Lee Miringoff of Marist (my long-lost cousin) says that when Obama gets away from talking about the economy, his numbers have a tendency to slide.
However, it’s not clear from the McClatchy-Marist poll how much talking about the economy will help Obama’s numbers. According to that poll, approval of the president’s performance in this area lags behind his overall approval rate. Just 37 percent of respondents approve of his handling of the economy, while 56 percent disapprove.
This doesn’t mean that Americans are highly pessimistic about the economy. According to the poll, 29 percent expect their personal family finances to get better in the coming year, while 19 percent expect them to worsen. Just over half believe their finances will stay about the same.
The problem is that most Americans aren’t satisfied with their current economic situation, and Obama didn’t run on a platform of keeping our personal finances about the same.
So although Obama is well-advised to pivot to the economy (for the reasons I discussed yesterday), only real and significant economic progress is likely to bolster his standing with the American public.