By Dr. Lee M. Miringoff
The latest McClatchy-Marist national poll has nothing but bad news for President Obama and Congress. Surprising? Not really. It’s more of the same….only more so. Six months into his second term, President Obama’s approval rating is at a two-year low at 41%. His GOP counterparts in Congress are scraping bottom at their lowest point with a 22% approval rating. Congressional Democrats are only slightly better at 33%. That’s certainly nothing to write home about to their constituents either.
It doesn’t get any prettier drilling down into the numbers. For President Obama, his decline from a previous poll at the end of March is across-the-board. It is most pronounced among moderate and independent voters, but he is also taking a major hit from young voters and the Latino community. Also, by two to one, voters nationwide wide think we are headed in the wrong direction.
President Obama’s second term began with the promise of gun control, immigration reform, and climate change. Instead, voters have been offered the Benghazi controversy, Snowden and privacy invasion, an unsettled Middle East, and a lingering discussion over health care.
As for Congress, the nation is fed up with gridlock. Nearly two-thirds want compromise, not a dig your feet in the sand “stand on principle.” Even Republican voters by 50% to 41% want the legislative process to move forward.
What’s a president to do? He cannot change the political realities of a divided Congress and a divided nation, but he always fares better when he gets outside the Beltway battles and talks about the economy. So, off he goes starting Wednesday to Knox College where he gave his maiden speech on this national concern in 2005.
The theme is likely to be a familiar one, focusing on the middle class and opportunity. It’s a message he carried successsfully throughout the 2008 campaign and his re-election effort last year. He’s banking that a return to this theme and a series of campaign mode events will restart his stalled second term.