Opposition to Obama grows — strongly
Four in 10 Americans “strongly” disapprove of how President Obama is handling job as president in the new Washington Post-ABC News poll, the highest that number has risen during his time in office and a sign of the hardening opposition to him as he seeks a second term.
While the topline numbers are troubling enough, dig deeper into them and the news gets no better for Obama. Forty-three percent of independents — a group the president spent the better part of the last year courting — strongly disapprove of the job he is doing. Forty seven percent of people 65 years of age and older — reliable voters in any election — strongly disapprove of how he is doing his job.
Strong opposition to Obama has grown markedly since the start of the year.
In a mid-January Post-ABC survey, 28 percent strongly disapproved of the job Obama was doing. That number has steadily ticked upward — with the exception of a poll in early May that followed hard on the killing of Osama bin Laden — as the year has worn on and the economy has remained sluggish (at best).
And even as his strong disapproval numbers have steadily risen, his strong approval numbers have gone into a mirror-image decline.
In January, 30 percent strongly approved of the job Obama was doing. In the latest Post-ABC survey, that numbers is 21 percent and, as recently as early August, it had dipped to 18 percent.
All of those numbers — and yes, we here at the Fix do love us some poll numbers — point to a simple fact: The “anyone but Obama” crowd is getting larger and more strident in their opinions, while the president’s base is growing less and less strongly supportive of how he is doing the job.
To that point: 43 percent of self-identified Democrats said they “strongly” approve of the job Obama is doing, while 74 percent of Republicans strongly disapprove. That’s a 31-point disparity for you non-math majors out there.
The poll data provide empirical evidence for the recent switch in Obama’s rhetoric from a focus on compromise (aimed at independents) to one that accentuates the differences between his approach and the one advocated by Republicans (aimed at Democrats).
The Post-ABC poll does suggest, however, that Obama’s jobs plan could well help him repair relations with his party base. More than eight in 10 Democrats — and 81 percent of liberals — support it.
A dispirited base coupled with a highly energized opposition isn’t an ideal place for the president to be, but neither is it a political death sentence. President George W. Bush found himself in a not dissimilar situation in 2004 and managed to win re-election using a scorched-earth approach designed to disqualify Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (D) in the eyes of voters.
These numbers affirm that the 2012 election will look a lot more like that 2004 election than it will Obama’s 2008 victory. Put another way: winning ugly may be the only way for the president to win next November.
You can't hide failure at this level. He's doomed. The American independents know they made a grave error is voting for a media-created construct. They will not do it again.