Public approval for a scandal-embattled President Barack Obama, as well as a gridlocked, ineffectual Congress, has reached near-historic lows, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.
The President is facing his worst slide in popularity among a cross section of Americans since his all-time low of 39 percent in September 2011. The recent poll, which finds his approval down to 41 percent, shows Obama on track to descend at least that far once more, if the trend established during the first six months of his second term continues.
In April (back when the Benghazi, Libya, debacle was the only major Obama Administration scandal the public knew about), Obama’s polling numbers were commensurate with the 51 percent of the popular vote he received in the 2012 election, with an even 50 percent of Americans still showing their approval.
But two months later, in the wake of scandals involving Obama’s ties with the Internal Revenue Service, National Security Agency and Department of Justice — along with an unfocused cavalcade of second-term agenda talking points covering Obamacare, energy regulations, ambivalent foreign policy and even civil liberties — the President’s popularity, even among his liberal base, has taken a dramatic hit.
A separate Field poll found that only 52 percent of voters in California, where Democrats have carried every Presidential election since 1992, now approve of Obama’s post-scandal performance. In February, by contrast, he had enjoyed a 62 percent popularity rating.
As the McClatchy poll summary notes, the numerous scandals have chipped away at Obama’s credibility on many fronts, with Americans from highly divergent walks of life finding their own different reasons for turning on the President. Despite that, Obama still is faring far better than the stagnant 113th Congress, especially the Republican majority in the House of Representatives:
“Clearly six months into his second term there’s been falloff across the board. It’s not like one group bailed on him,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion at Marist College in New York, which conducted the poll.
About his only solace is that the approval rating of congressional Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, sank to 22 percent. One-third of registered voters approved of congressional Democrats’ performance.
The dismal Washington numbers reflect “the ongoing, cumulative effect of those issues which have not been resolved” and no solution is in sight, Miringoff said. Lawmakers remain at odds over how to trim federal deficits or write a federal budget for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, and Congress plans to leave Aug. 2 for a five-week recess.