Why President Obama's approval ratings are falling (+video)(Read article summary)
The president's numbers are generally trending downward, polls show. A survey released Tuesday found 45 percent of Americans are happy with Obama's job performance, down from 50 percent in December. What gives?
Is President Obamaâ€™s approval rating slipping downwards amid the back and forth of "sequester" politics? Thatâ€™s the conclusion of a just-released McClatchy-Marist poll. The survey finds that just 45 percent of voters are happy with Mr. Obamaâ€™s job performance, down from 50 percent in November and December. A plurality of 48 percent of respondents disapproves of the presidentâ€™s actions, according to the McClatchy-Marist numbers.
Not all new polls are in agreement here. Tuesdayâ€™s Rasmussen tracking survey shows Obamaâ€™s approval rating above water at 52 percent, up one percentage point from last week.
But the medium-term trend for the presidentâ€™s numbers is generally downward. The RealClearPolitics rolling average of Obamaâ€™s approval polls peaked at 53.8 percent on Christmas Day. Since then itâ€™s steadily fallen to 48.8 percent, with 45.3 percent of respondents disapproving of the presidential performance.
Whatâ€™s going on here? One thing pushing this sliding trend may be the quick end of the electoral honeymoon. The presidentâ€™s reelection image machine has stopped churning, and the partisan glow his voters felt at his second-term victory is starting to fade.
Paradoxically, Obama may also be paying a price for attempting to appear as strong as possible in the recent series of D.C. fiscal crises.
â€śThis may be the downside of him coming out of the box stronger in the second term,â€ť Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, told his McClatchy partners. â€śPeople are now looking for him to lead us out of this stalemate, provide more leadership. People see him as a strong figure and in the driverâ€™s seat. During the election, it was him versus Romney. Now itâ€™s him versus peopleâ€™s expectations for the country.â€ť
Then thereâ€™s the sequester itself. Gallup notes that its daily tracking poll showed the presidentâ€™s approval rating dropping when the cuts took effect March 1. Since then, Obamaâ€™s Gallup numbers have bounced around day to day, but at the moment the firm has his approval rating at 49 percent, down from 53 percent in late February.
Obamaâ€™s â€śapproval rating will likely remain in a precarious state until he and Congress can reach accord on federal spending and the budget deficit,â€ť wrote Gallupâ€™s Jeffrey Jones earlier this month.
Congress does not seem to be in a similar position. So far the sequester has had little effect on what Americans think about their legislature.
But in part thatâ€™s because it would be hard for opinion about Congress to sink any lower. In a March 11 Gallup survey, only 13 percent of respondents approved of Congressâ€™s job performance. Thatâ€™s just a few points higher than the all-time low of 10 percent hit last year.
â€śThese low ratings could improve if Congress does something the public respects, but leave little room for a further drop if Americans continue to perceive Congressâ€™ activities negatively,â€ť writes Gallup editor in chief Frank Newport.