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Presidency

Obama losing white support

This L.A. Times story reports on a surveys by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press: 

"After a summer of healthcare battles and sliding approval ratings for President Obama, the White House is facing a troubling new trend: The voters losing faith in the president are the ones he had worked hardest to attract.

New surveys show steep declines in Obama's approval ratings among whites -- including Democrats and independents -- who were crucial elements of the diverse coalition that helped elect the country's first black president.

Among white Democrats, Obama's job approval rating has dropped 11 points since his 100-days mark in April, according to surveys by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. It has dropped by 9 points among white independents and whites over 50, and by 12 points among white women -- all groups that will be targeted by both parties in next year's midterm elections."

And also this:

"More than half of whites older than 50 approved of Obama's job performance in April. But now, after weeks of Republican accusations that the Democrats would seek to cut Medicare benefits, that number is 43%. Among white Democrats, Obama's approval rating dropped to 78%, from 89%."

It goes almost without saying that he can regain much of this lost support after he is able to pass some sort of health care reform (but without the government option).  Yet, after seeing his performance in Cincinnati, I am beginning to doubt that he can regain his standing.
Categories > Presidency

Discussions - 3 Comments

His support may be falling among white people, but oddly framed, since it has nothing to do with their being white or he being black. No, I think instead there is a real debate in this country (not to mention a real anger) that the president is attempting to introduce a massive federal program that would further cause the deficit and debt to skyrocket and cause taxes increases, and all this in the middle of a recession/depression. As I've said before, they liked his speaking and campaigning against Bush, but he found that he can't govern against Bush nor did the people want his progressive policies.

Again, I think much of the dissatisfaction with Obama (whether it is coming primarily from whites or not is a secondary question, in my view) stems from a perception of hubris. By that, what I mean is a perception on the part of many people who were inclined either to give him a pass or to view him favorably in the past, to see him moving forward with too much speed and with a lack of concern for public opinion. Americans may find something attractive in a person who proclaims that he has the audacity to "hope" . . . there's no harm in hoping, after all . . . but when you have the audacity to "act" you had better make sure that you have recruited enough public support for your actions (by providing thorough explanations of your intentions and arguments about their relative justice and usefulness). Obama, in my view, reminds us of why the word "audacity" does not always and has not always carried with it favorable connotations. People are beginning to probe deeper and ask themselves (finally) the "what?" question. Hope for "what"? Audacity to do "what"? Change "what"? The meat he's putting on the bones of his hopey changey rhetoric was bound to displease a number of his supporters. The question that remains is whether the numbers who are displeased with him now will remain unhappy and whether their numbers will be sufficient to tame his audacity. I am not yet certain that things look as bad for team Obama as they appear to look at the moment. But I'm fairly certain that he's going to have to do more than give a few speeches if he means to garner the support he needs to continue with is audacious plans. And the patience Americans have for these speeches is the thing that is growing the most surprisingly thin . . . I am pleased, but also surprised, at how quickly that happened.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/03/AR2009090302859.html?sub=AR

This Krauthammer column says it a little harder than I would have said it, maybe. But it strikes me as, largely, right.

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