A while back I mentioned to a liberal pal what I thought was fairly obvious: that Barack Obama was a polarizing figure in American politics. My liberal pal, a bright guy, didn’t know what I was talking about. George W. Bush was polarizing, he said. Rush Limbaugh was polarizing. But Barrack Obama?
The mistake he made, of course, was to foolishly think that because he and every other liberal he knew loved Obama, everybody did, except, maybe, for a few right –wing nuts. So a few days later I produced some numbers from Gallup indicating that while nearly 90 percent of Democrats were slobbering over Obama, only about 20 percent of Republicans could stand him. That, I said, is polarizing. To his credit, he saw the light.
So next time around it’s a safe bet that Democrats will vote again for Obama and Republicans again won’t. It’s the independents that really matter, the folks who vote Democratic sometimes and Republican other times. Last time around they went for Obama, which helped put him in the White House. And now we get new numbers from Gallup on what independents are thinking, numbers that don’t look very good for the president.
Only 38 percent of independents approve of the job Barack Obama is doing. One year ago, 56 percent approved.
According to Gallup, “Over the past year, Obama has lost support among all party groups, though the decline has been steeper among independents than among Republicans or Democrats. Today’s 38% approval rating among independents is 18 percentage points lower than the 56% found July 6-12, 2009. During the same period, his support has fallen nine points among Democrats (from 90% to 81%) and eight points among Republicans (from 20% to 12%).”
This sounds like 2012 could be a bad year for Mr. Obama, but we shouldn’t jump to any conclusions. Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan had less than a majority backing them in July of their second year in office. And both won re-election. Or to put it another way: 2012 is a long way off.
But November 2010 is right around the corner. And with declining poll numbers for the president, things are looking gloomier than ever for his fellow Democrats in the mid-term elections.