Obama slips in polls
When Barack Obama unveils his jobs and economic plan to a joint session of Congress on Thursday, he’ll do so at the lowest point of his presidency, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
After the bruising debt-ceiling fight — as well as Standard & Poor’s subsequent downgrade of the nation’s credit rating — Obama’s job approval rating has sunk to a low of 44 percent, a 3-point drop since July. His handling of the economy stands at a low of 37 percent. And only 19 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction, the lowest mark for this president.
Perhaps most ominously for Obama, a majority of poll takers — 54 percent — think he’s facing a longer-term setback from which he’s unlikely to recover. Back in January, just 39 percent agreed with that assessment.
Indeed, that 54 percent is virtually identical to George W. Bush’s score on the same question in the Nov. 2005 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which was released just months after Bush’s widely criticized handling of Hurricane Katrina.
“When [Obama] addresses the American public, he is going to have one more chance to provide some sense of hope and optimism that he … can provide answers to what is a woeful economy,” said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff.
But both Hart and McInturff contend that Obama wasn’t the only party damaged by the debt ceiling debacle. A whopping 82 percent now disapprove of the job Congress is doing. In the history of this poll, it’s an all-time high level of dissatisfaction with Capitol Hill.
In addition, when asked who is most to blame for the S&P downgrade, a plurality points to congressional Republicans. And a majority of respondents say they would vote out every single member of Congress if they could.
“Everybody in Washington is taking a substantial hit,” McInturff said.
Silver linings for Obama Yet Obama, in particular, took a gut punch. According to the poll, just 42 percent give the president high marks for possessing strong leadership qualities. That’s a 12-point drop from May (in the days following Osama bin Laden’s death).
In addition, his high marks for being a good commander in chief have plunged 10 points (from 51 percent in May to his current 41 percent rating); his high marks for having the ability to handle a crisis have dropped 14 points (from 53 percent to 39 percent); and his high marks for achieving his goals have declined another 14 points (from 41 percent to 27 percent).