While Barack Obama's approval numbers continue to head south, today's Rasmussen Reports includes perhaps even more interesting results related to congress, party identification and the two national parties' relationship to their base voters.
Those results, filtered through the past few election results, are very telling. More on that below.
First, on Obama's sinking fortunes from Rasmussen:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 28% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty percent (40%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index of -12.
Overall, 46% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance. Fifty-three percent (53%) now disapprove.
In short, about 61% of Obama's overall support is intense while over 75% of his opposition is intense, indicating that statistically his numbers are more likely to continue downward than to reverse course -- barring something unforeseen that changes the political landscape -- which of course does happen. Gene Schwimmer notes: This also marks the 10th consecutive week in which the GOP has led the Dems.
Whether it is a trend or not, Obama's strong approval numbers dipped below 30% for the first time in a number of days. The strong disapprove numbers remain in the 40% range, which appears to be a solid trend and is coincident with the percentage of Americans who consider themselves somewhat or very conservative. It would be interesting to know if the bleeding of Obama's numbers consists of converts from his message or disaffected liberals fearing he will veer to the center to get something passed on health care.
One of the big problems faced by Bush's White House was the belief that his falling poll numbers were a result of his conservatism. History is pretty clear that much of his low numbers were the result of conservatives giving him bad marks as well, but the New Tone strategy was unable to accommodate such a dynamic.
In fact, this is related to some very interesting figures today from Rasmussen that seems to bear that theory out. From the report:
Republicans have opened their largest lead yet over Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot (snip) (43-36%).
However, Republican voters say that GOP representatives in Congress are still out of touch with the party base. Most say that the average Republican in Congress is more liberal than the average Republican voter.
Unlike Republicans, just 27% of Democratic voters say the average Democratic member of Congress is more liberal than the average Democrat.
Forty-two percent (42%) say people randomly selected from the phone book could do a better job than the current Congress.
The fascinating point these numbers make could explain why a country that is demonstrably conservative has voted in liberal leadership since 2006 on a consistent basis.
There is a huge disconnect between the GOP and its voters on the one hand, while the DNC and its elected leaders are right in step with their voting base by comparison. Thus the DNC runs more dynamic and successful campaigns while the RNC thrashes about trying to figure out where they went wrong.
This is how a Republican base --and disaffected voters without party ID -- can be aching for conservative leadership and yet the party insiders and media more or less engineer a nominee like John McCain who made his mark fighting base principles.
I think it also explains how the inside the beltway "conservative" pundits keep missing the mood of the conservative electorate relative to someone like Sarah Palin.
Today's report from Rasmussen is not great news for Obama for sure. But the big story can be how the numbers seem to back up what many at AT and what Rush Limbaugh and others have been saying for years.
You win as Republicans like Reagan did in 80 and 84 and like Newt Gingrich did with Congress in 1994. You stay in touch with your base and you really believe what they believe.