An array of controversies and scandals (and controversies over whether some scandals are scandals) has now taken it’s toll on President Barack Obama: a new CNN poll finds his approval rating has dropped 8 points. But the bad news for Obama gets worse: the verdict on his personal qualities has also turned sour and he is losing independent voters. For the first time since Nov. 2011 a majority of Americans have a negative view of how Obama is doing his job. It’s worth to look at this poll in some detail.
President Barack Obama’s approval rating dropped eight percentage points over the past month, to 45%, the president’s lowest rating in more than a year and a half, according to a new national poll.
The CNN/ORC International survey released Monday morning comes as the White House has been reacting to controversies over a massive U.S. government surveillance program; the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of tea party and other conservative groups who applied for tax-exempt status; the administration’s handling of last September’s attack in Benghazi that left the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans dead; and the Justice Department’s secret collection of journalists’ phone records as part of a government investigation into classified leaks.
The poll indicates that for the first time in Obama’s presidency, half of the public says they don’t believe he is honest and trustworthy. And Americans are split on the controversial National Security Agency anti-terrorism program to record metadata on U.S. phone calls, but they support the NSA program that targets records of Internet usage by people in other countries. That doesn’t mean they necessarily like what is going on: Just over six in 10 believe that government is so large and powerful that it threatens the rights and freedoms of ordinary Americans.
And then there’s this:
A slight majority of those questioned in the poll, which was conducted Tuesday through Thursday of last week, disapprove of the actions of the man who leaked sensitive information about the NSA program. A similar number say Edward Snowden, who fled to Hong Kong, should be brought back to the United States and prosecuted.
The polarization over Snowden is a reflection over the concern over his reveleations.
The president’s approval rating stands at 45%, down from 53% in mid-May. And 54% say they disapprove of how Obama’s handling his job, up nine points from last month. It’s the first time in CNN polling since November 2011 that a majority of Americans have had a negative view of the president.
The biggest concern for Obama and the Democrats should be news that he has quickly lost a chunk of two pillars of his traditional support:
“The drop in Obama’s support is fueled by a dramatic 17-point decline over the past month among people under 30, who, along with black Americans, had been the most loyal part of the Obama coalition,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
The president also dropped 10 points among independent voters, from 47% last month to 37% now, with Obama’s disapproval among independents jumping 12 points to 61%.
What’s behind the drop?
“It is clear that revelations about NSA surveillance programs have damaged Obama’s standing with the public, although older controversies like the IRS matter may have begun to take their toll as well,” adds Holland.
Six in 10 disapprove of how Obama is handling government surveillance of U.S. citizens, which is higher than the 52% who disapproved of George W. Bush on the same issue in 2006, when government surveillance was also in the headlines.
And the news gets still worse for the White House. Obama’s rating on issues such as terrorism is tumbling as well:
Obama’s approval rating on terrorism, although still above 50%, has taken a 13-point hit since mid-May. By contrast, his approval rating on domestic issues such as the economy, immigration and the deficit only dropped by two to four points, within the poll’s sampling error.
The number of Americans who think he is honest has dropped nine points over the past month, to 49%. Fifty-seven percent of those questioned say they disagree with the president’s views on the size and power of the federal government, and 53% say he cannot manage the government effectively. Fifty-two percent say the president is a strong and decisive leader. That’s still a majority, but it’s down six points from last month.
There more — but little good news for the White House. And this can’t be good news for the Democrats heading into the mid-term elections. It also means Obama is likely to have an even harder time in Congress with the Republicans, who’ll look at this and conclude that Obama is now politically on the ropes.
Go to the link to read it in its entirety.
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