January 27, 2010
One Year Later: The 40-Percent President
By Brad O'Leary
Today, Obama's policies face public approval of around 40% or less. In fact, across the board, from his policies to the candidates he supports, 40% or less of the American public back the Obama brand. As they say, the numbers don't lie.
Voters Running from Obama
- Only 43% of voters say they would vote to reelect Obama. (Zogby poll of 2,377 voters, January 19-21, 2010)
- Only 45% of voters in competitive congressional districts this year would vote to reelect Obama today. (Zogby poll of 2,879 voters, November 10-12, 2009)
Voters Running from Obama-Backed Candidates
- Only 43% of Virginia voters cast their ballots for Obama-backed gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds last November.
- Only 45% of New Jersey voters came out for the president's gubernatorial candidate in that traditionally blue state last November.
- Only 47% of Massachusetts voters cast their ballots for President Obama's candidate in the special election to fill the late Senator Ted Kennedy's seat.
- Only 37% of Americans would vote to reelect their Obama-supported Democratic congressman. (Rasmussen poll of 800 likely voters, November 24, 2009)
Voters Feel Less Safe Under Obama
- Only 22% of voters say they feel safer on airplanes under President Obama than they did under President Bush. (Zogby poll of 2,377 voters, January 19-21, 2010)
- Only 8% of voters give Obama's Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano an "A" for the job she is doing keeping America safe. (Zogby poll of 2,377 voters, January 19-21, 2010)
Voters Oppose Obama's War on Terror Policies
- Only 11% of voters think the U.S. detention facility in Guantánamo Bay should be shut down immediately. (Zogby poll of 2,377 voters, January 19-21, 2010)
- Only 33% of voters agree with the Obama administration's decision to grant U.S. constitutional rights and a civilian court trial to the Nigerian national who tried to detonate a bomb aboard a plane over Detroit on Christmas Day. (Zogby poll of 2,377 voters, January 19-21, 2010)
- Only 13% of voters think the U.S. should not revoke the visas of all non-immigrant students in America who are no longer enrolled in school. (Zogby poll of 2,377 voters, January 19-21, 2010)
- Only 45% of voters agree with how Obama is handling foreign policy and the war in Afghanistan. (Quinnipiac poll of 1,767 registered voters, January 5-11, 2010)
- Only 31% support the Obama administration's decision to grant American constitutional rights to foreign enemy combatants accused of terrorism so they can be tried in the U.S. federal court system as opposed to military tribunals. (Zogby poll of 3,616 voters, November 17-20, 2009)
Voters Oppose Obama's Health Care Plan
- Only 32% think Obama's health care plan is a good idea. (NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll of 1,008 adults, December 11-14, 2009)
- Only 13% of voters agree with the Obama administration's decision to bar C-SPAN from broadcasting negotiations about his health care bill. (Zogby poll of 2,377 voters, January 19-21, 2010)
- Only 12% of voters agree with the provision in Obama's health care bill that would force some married couples to pay $2,000 more per year for health insurance than unmarried couples. (Zogby poll of 2,377 voters, January 19-21, 2010)
- Only 21% of voters think that taxpayer dollars should be used to fund elective abortions. (Zogby poll of 2,377 voters, January 19-21, 2010)
- Only 39% agree with the Obamacare provision that would penalize small businesses that do not offer health insurance to their employees. (Zogby poll of 2,879 voters, November 10-12, 2009)
Voters Disapprove of Obama's Handling of the Economy
- Only 34% of voters approve of Obama's effort to create jobs. (Quinnipiac poll of 1,767 registered voters, January 5-11, 2010)
- Only 28% of voters trust the Obama administration (very much) to get federal legislation passed that creates jobs in 2010. (Zogby poll of 2,879 voters, November 10-12, 2009)
- Only 41% of voters approve of the way Obama is handling the economy. (Quinnipiac poll of 1,767 registered voters, January 5-11, 2010)
- Only 13% of voters think it is very likely that the Obama-Pelosi stimulus bill helped create or save 600,000 jobs. (Rasmussen poll of 1,000 likely voters, November 17-18, 2009)
- Only 21% of voters agree with the Obama administration that increased federal spending will help the economy. (Rasmussen poll of 1,000 likely voters, November 17-18, 2009)
- Only 35% of Americans think global warming is a serious problem. (Pew Research Center Poll of 1,500 adults, September 30 - October 4, 2009)
- Only 37% would support a cap-and-trade bill that raises their utility bill by just $10 per month, even if it meant a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. (Associated Press-Stanford University Poll of 1,005 adults, November 17-29)
Voters Disagree with Obama on the Second Amendment, Abortion, and Immigration
- Only 39% of Americans think the U.S. needs stricter gun control laws. (Rasmussen poll of 1,000 adults, October 1-2, 2009)
- Only 18% of Americans think abortion should be legal in all circumstances. (Quinnipiac University poll of 1,767 registered voters, January 5-11, 2010)
- Only 35% of voters side with President Obama in the dispute over whether or not local law enforcement should be permitted to enforce U.S. immigration laws. (Zogby poll of 2,879 voters, November 10-12, 2009)
From a historical standpoint, the Obama presidency is much like the return of King Charles II to England. The English greeted the return of the monarchy with euphoria, massive celebrations, and fireworks. England was enveloped in a cloud of happiness, much as America was when the Democrats regained total control of the White House and Congress.
President Obama's approval rating soared to 65 percent. Old King Charles himself would have blushed if Elizabethan England had given him such admiration.
But just like King Charles's, Obama's first year at the helm has left much to be desired. Not that Obama himself has changed much at all. He still has that same wonderful rhetoric and polished style that won him 53 percent of the votes on Election Day. But in past year, Americans have begun to pay more attention to the substance of President Obama's policies -- policies that he never hid from them during his candidacy.
Today, only 43 percent of Americans would vote to reelect President Obama. Support for his policies is mired in the 30s, and the percentage of Americans who believe Obama can accomplish major tasks is in the 20s.
Prior to the 2008 presidential election, we commissioned a number of polls through Zogby International asking American voters if they supported certain policy changes prescribed by Obama the candidate. In this newsletter, we have included an interesting comparison that shows how Americans felt about President Obama's substance and policies in 2008 and how they feel today.
In fact, you can go to the barackobamatest.com website we created prior to the 2008 election and take the same test that over 900,000 Americans took in the two months leading up to the vote. By taking the test, you can see if you and President Obama agree on the major issues of the day, and you can determine if you would have voted for him had you known.
In January 2009, Obama's rising tide lifted all Democratic ships. Today, however, the president's agenda is an anchor around the necks of all who support it. Aspiring Democratic congressmen, senators, and governors running for election this year will likely do well to keep the president, and his policies, at several arms' length.
Brad O'Leary is publisher of "The O'Leary Report," a bestselling author, and a former NBC Westwood One talk show host. To see more, go to olearyreport.com.