Marist Poll: Obama Losing Independent Voter Support
A new Marist poll indicates President Barack Obama is starting to lose independent voter support.
It has some good news for Obama: his overall approval rating numbers ( 55 percent of registered voters) has remain largely unchanged. And he continues to have solid support (90 percent) from Democrats.
But as President George Bush’s two terms in office indicated, a President is not in a strong position if he risks becoming a President of his party’s base. Obama isn’t there yet but it’s clear that he’s now facing some erosion among independent voters — who have never been a monolithic group to begin with and, some say, have had many defected Republicans in their ranks in the past few years:
55% of U.S. registered voters approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing in office while 35% say they disapprove. The president has held his own in the court of public opinion during the last few months. In The Marist Poll’s June survey, the president received a similar job approval rating — 56%. These proportions are consistent with those Mr. Obama received in April. In Marist’s April 27th and April 8th surveys, the president received kudos from 55% and 56% of voters, respectively.
But, is President Obama on a slippery slope with Independent voters? Currently, 47% of Independents nationwide say they approve of the job the president is doing while 37% disapprove. This is the first time Obama has lost a majority of Independents since taking office. In June, 51% believed Obama was meeting their standards, and in Marist’s April 27th and April 8th surveys, 54% and 53%, respectively, thought this way.
There is also movement in the GOP camp. Although a similar proportion of Republicans — 20% — currently approve of the president’s job performance compared with those in June — 23% — more members of the GOP disapprove of Mr. Obama now. 71% today say they are not pleased with the way the president is running the country. 61% shared this view in June.
Looking at the president’s own party, it’s not surprising that most Democrats — 90% — report that President Obama’s job performance is meeting their standards. This proportion is little changed from Marist’s previous survey.
It was to be expected that Obama would lose GOP support, the more he took positions at odds with Republicans (talk radio will always be at odds with him and were at odds with him before he was even sworn into office). But the erosion in independents is another matter. It could be sugar-coated by saying that since a chunk of independents were GOPers upset over the Bush administration but, then, many independent voters had belonged to a party at some time or another.
A President needs the support of a good chunk of independent voters to have clout and most elections show that a party can’t only win with its own voters, but must peel off enough of the independents. One question is now: will what independent voters see in the Town Hall meetings via TV and You Tube tilt them one way or another?