How Unpopular is the Obama Administration?

President Obama’s approval ratings have declined steadily since he took office. Among likely voters, those who disapprove of his performance consistently outnumber those who approve by eight points or so. The margin between those who strongly disapprove and those who strongly approve is even greater.
I suspect, however, that those numbers actually overstate the popularity of the Obama administration. Many voters are reluctant to give up on a president they voted for, and, knowing that we are stuck with Obama until 2013, some prefer not to admit how poorly they think our president is doing. Further, Obama continues to enjoy a near-unanimous approval among African-Americans that probably reflects understandable loyalty as much as real satisfaction with the administration’s policies.
Another way to assess how the Obama administration is doing with the American people is to follow the approval ratings of other members of the administration. For example, this Rasmussen survey finds that just 32 percent of likely voters have a favorable opinion of both Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security director Janet Napolitano. Forty-two percent view Holder unfavorably, while 47 percent express an unfavorable opinion of Napolitano. Since these two cabinet members oversee key areas of administration policy, this may be a more accurate gauge of what voters think of the Obama administration than the President’s own approval ratings.
If that is true, the administration is in serious trouble with the American public. While many Americans–a minority, to be sure–still feel obliged to say that they support our president, a much larger number are deeply disappointed in the policies he and his administration have pursued.

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