President Obama may well come to look back at the summer of 2011 as the halcyon days of high approval ratings despite his current 39-54 negative job approval in the Gallup Poll. The indications are that his ratings will continue to crater and are likely to drop even lower....and then lower again.
Underlying his overall job approval rating is his approval rating, in the Gallup Poll, on specific issues. These internals suggest that even more trouble is ahead for the beleaguered president. On the economy -- the central issue now by far -- only 26% approve of the job he is doing while 71% disapprove. This rating of 26-71 contrasts with his 37-60 rating on the economy by Gallup as recently as May. When a president drops like that, he is in real trouble.
On job creation, Obama wins the approval of only 29% and the disapproval of 65% and on the federal deficit, he gets only 24% approval and 71% disapproval.
In fact, only on the generic issue of fighting terrorism does Obama score in positive territory, 53-40, in the wake of bin Laden's killing. On Afghanistan, he gets negative ratings of 38-55 and on foreign policy in general, he draws negatives of 42-51.
Even on the traditionally Democratic issue of education, voters disapprove of Obama's performance by 41-50. The import of the education reforms in states like New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Florida and Wisconsin -- all initiated by Republican governors -- is that the Republicans are beginning to capture the education issue away from the Democrats.
So what is holding Obama's overall job approval "up" at 39%? Not much. A residual personal favorability and a positive, friendly image are about all that are keeping his job approval from dropping into the 20s along with his rating on handling the only issue the country cares about. It is just a matter of time before his ratings drop into the mid and low thirties and possibly even lower.
With no economic improvement on the horizon and no clear Republican candidate to attack, Obama is likely to sink ever deeper into the abyss, so far that he will find it impossible to climb out when the actual fall election is upon us. The handwriting is on the wall in the form of his dismal poll ratings on the economy.
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