Poll: Obama Rating High But Quickly Losing Republican Support

President George W. Bush wound up being a President of the Republican party base and — some felt — of the base and for the base.

According to a new CNN poll, President Barack Obama is evolving into a President of more than just the Democratic party’s base, but with increasingly little GOP support — bolstered by a majority coalition which includes a relatively unified Democratic party and more independent voters for him than against him.

It suggests that (1) Obama should count on not getting GOP support for many of his measures, (2) the Republican party continues to be in danger of being increasingly marginalized as a kind of early 21st century “niche” party, unless it starts to move beyond what beyond a confrontational sound bite political culture best typified by political talk radio (which now seems wedded to GOP party elites more than it did 8 years ago). Meanwhile, Obama is starting to see his independent voter support sagas well.

A national poll indicates that two out of three Americans approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president of the United States.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey, released Friday, also suggests that six in 10 support the economic stimulus package that Obama signed into law Tuesday.

Obama’s approval rating stands at 67 percent in the new poll. That’s down 9 percentage points from the most recent CNN poll, which was conducted in early February. But a breakdown by party suggests that the drop doesn’t mean that the new president is in serious trouble.

“Since nearly all of the decline came among Republicans, this doesn’t indicate that the honeymoon is already over,” said Keating Holland, CNN’s polling director. “Among Democrats, Obama’s approval went from 96 percent to 92 percent; among Republicans, it dropped from 50 percent in early February to 31 percent now.”

Among independents, the president’s approval rating now stands at 61 percent, down 6 percentage points from earlier in the month.

Sixty percent of those questioned in the poll favored the economic stimulus plan, with 39 percent opposing the package. The $787 billion law is designed to pump up the economy by increasing federal government spending, sending aid to states in fiscal trouble and by cutting taxes.

If the GOP doesn’t broaden its base with presenting affirmative ideas and programs it could maintain it’s minority and “insurgent” status for a while. And Obama will need to keep strong support among independents and work to regain some GOP support or else he won’t have a political “safety net” as his popularity suffers greater blows — which invariably happens to all Presidents once they are past the honeymoon period. If neither of these things happen, the danger is that the country will remain mired in partisan polarization wars stemming from the baby boomer us-versus-them battles rooted in the turbulent 60s.

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  • Leonidas

    New presidents enjoy higher popularity ratings after taking office. Remember Jimmy Carter started out with 66% approval. Tooo early to call it yet for the New President. Approval numbers in about 2 years will be the important thing for the 2010 elections not approval now. The euphoria will wear off and we will see whther or not Obama and the Democratic party will maintain their approvals. The performance of the economy will be the primary factor, when they won the presidential election and both houses of Congress the democrats bought that issue, it is theirs now and their performace on it will likely greatly influence their performance in 2010. What the GOP does can certainly have impact on their showing, but the big card is the Democrats to play, and whether its a winning or losing one will depend on how the economy reacts to it.

  • elrod

    That is true, Leonidas, which is why the Democrats will continue to “ignore” the Republicans and push their agenda for the economy. If it all fails, the public will vote them out in 2010 or 2012. Of course, as a Democrat myself who supports the Democratic vision for the economy, I hope they resolve the Franken lawsuit nonsense (and it really is nonsense at this point; the Senate should just seat him provisionally) and Illinois quickly appoints a replacement for Burris. With 59 votes, the Democrats will have the numbers in the Senate to push a full Democratic agenda on energy, health care, the budget, housing, banking and the environment.

  • superdestroyer

    All the poll numbers show is how much the MSM has taken ownership of the Obama Administration. CNN, the networks, and the major newpapers absolutely refuse to say anything bad about President Obama. As this goes on, the re-election of President Obama will be assured because the media has failed to go its job. Look at the numerous problems with filling his adminsitration, the idiotic comment about likeing an office as warm as a hothouse, the near racist statements of his Attorney General, and the outirght lies that are being told about the budget.

    As long as the media stays behind the Obama Adminstration, he will get 95% approval from Democrats. Why would any group walk away from the Obama Adminsitration that is passing out $1 trillion dollars in goodies.

  • AustinRoth

    Obama, Pelosi and Reed play only their base too. Give it until the end of the year, if that long, for the independents acknowledge that reality and abandon them all.

  • Rudi

    SD Most of the MSM sucked up to Bush during his first term. Chris Mathews had homo-erotic dreams about W's cod piece when he landed on the aircraft carrier declaring “Mission Accomplished”.

    MATTHEWS: What's the importance of the president's amazing display of leadership tonight?

    [...]

    MATTHEWS: What do you make of the actual visual that people will see on TV and probably, as you know, as well as I, will remember a lot longer than words spoken tonight? And that's the president looking very much like a jet, you know, a high-flying jet star. A guy who is a jet pilot. Has been in the past when he was younger, obviously. What does that image mean to the American people, a guy who can actually get into a supersonic plane and actually fly in an unpressurized cabin like an actual jet pilot?

    [...]

    MATTHEWS: Do you think this role, and I want to talk politically [...], the president deserves everything he's doing tonight in terms of his leadership. He won the war. He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics. Do you think he is defining the office of the presidency, at least for this time, as basically that of commander in chief? That [...] if you're going to run against him, you'd better be ready to take [that] away from him.

    [...]

    MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Bob Dornan, you were a congressman all those years. Here's a president who's really nonverbal. He's like Eisenhower. He looks great in a military uniform. He looks great in that cowboy costume he wears when he goes West. I remember him standing at that fence with Colin Powell. Was [that] the best picture in the 2000 campaign?

    [...]

    MATTHEWS: Ann Coulter, you're the first to speak tonight on the buzz. The president's performance tonight, redolent of the best of Reagan — what do you think?

    COULTER: It's stunning. It's amazing. I think it's huge. I mean, he's landing on a boat at 150 miles per hour. It's tremendous. It's hard to imagine any Democrat being able to do that. And it doesn't matter if Democrats try to ridicule it. It's stunning, and it speaks for itself.

  • PeopleWatching

    Joe Gandelman consistently writes insightful pieces. For anyone interested in the theme this piece closes with…”partisan polarization wars stemming from the baby boomer us-versus-them battles rooted in the turbulent 60s”, I highly recommend this op-ed which was recently in USA TODAY: http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20090… It connects the dots re. this issue better than anything else I can remember ever reading, about this moment in history, the rise of Generation Jones, and the role moving forward of the Boomers.