As the economy sputters along and unemployment stays high, President Obama's taking a big hit in the polls — in the latest Washington Post/ABC News survey, a record high 58 percent say they have little or no faith he will make the right decision for the country, and his overall approval rating is back at his low point of 50 percent. What do these ominous numbers say about Obama, and how bad are they for Democrats this November? (Watch a Fox report about the poll)
1. Lose our confidence, lose elections
Obama "took the biggest hit on the economy," says Ed Morrissey in Hot Air, but it's sinking confidence in him as a leader that should worry the president. People won't change their mind once they think you're an "empty suit." And while he and the Democrats steadily bleed support, Republicans will inevitably pick up disgruntled voters.
"WaPo poll a vote of no confidence in Captain Kickass leadership"
2. Obama's holding up better than expected
Despite the stagnating economy and disastrous BP spill, Obama's confidence numbers are "effectively the same as six months ago," says Pete Abel in The Moderate Voice. "That strikes me as the news" — despite voters' anger and reams of bad news, Obama's leadership numbers have "held virtually even." But I don't write the headlines.
"Why I hate polls and the reporting of poll"
3. Obama's a lousy salesman
"What's so bad about these surveys is that they paint a very dark picture about the president's ability to brighten the future," says John Dickerson in Slate. Obama's many attempts to convince people that the stimulus worked, or sell health care reform, are clearly not working. And "if Obama can't improve things for Democrats, no one can."
"Death of a salesman"
4. Voters still distrust Republicans more
It's true that "Dems aren't faring well" in the polls, says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly, "but it's not because voters are moving in large numbers to the GOP." A dismal 43 percent of voters have confidence in Obama, but an even smaller 26 percent trust Congressional Republicans. And on the economy, Democrats still lead the GOP by 8 points.
"Deficit-reduction mania has not swept the public"
5. Obama could be fine; Democrats are in trouble
"Obama is at a low point," but his numbers are on par with Bill Clinton's in 1994, and "ahead of where Ronald Reagan was in 1982," says The Economist. And each president's party lost big in those years' midterm elections. But while these poll numbers are "bad news for the president's party," history suggests they're "not all bad for the president himself" — both Clinton and Reagan cruised to easy reelection victories two years later.
"Glass half empty or full?"