Gallup reports that President Obama's approval rating is at its lowest point yet, with just 39 percent saying hail to the chief these days.
Is it any wonder, given the larger situation and, as important, the way in which Obama has performed? The bailout economics he embraced with gusto are unpopular, as is his version of health-care reform. The stimulus didn't deliver the benefits he and his mostly departed team of economic Super Friends promised. Etc.
The main upside to the Gallup news? People also dislike Congress, especially generic Republicans. As a Fox News write up puts it:
A deeply unsettled political landscape, with voters in a fiercely anti-incumbent mood, is framing the 2012 presidential race 15 months before Americans decide whether to give Obama a second term or hand power to the Republicans. Trying to ride out what seems to be an unrelenting storm of economic anxiety, people in the United States increasingly are voicing disgust with most all of the men and women, Obama included, they sent to Washington to govern them.
A poll Gallup released Friday on congressional approval showed that Democrats hold an edge over Republicans in the 2012 elections; 51 percent of registered voters favored Democrats, while 44 percent favored GOP lawmakers "if the elections for Congress were being held today."
Is it any wonder, given the larger situation and, as important, the way in which generic Republicans have performed?…
Such polls aren't exactly useless in predicting the outcomes of the 2012 elections, but they are pretty close to that.
But then again, the 2012 elections aren't what these polls actually are about. They are about the here and now, which is indeed grim when it comes to political responses to problems either caused or certainly exacerbated by previous political responses. The housing bubble at the center of the financial crisis wasn't caused exclusively by government policies—there's always a role for market hysteria in those things—but its size and fallout have a lot to do with programs designed to keep interest rates low, preferential treatment of owners over renters in all sorts of ways, and politicians' unwillingness to let market losers (banks and individuals both) take their lumps and losses quickly. The debate over the debt ceiling was instructive too, mostly in showing how unprepared either side is to come to terms with a decade-long-plus spending binge that has got to stop, and now.
The lack of leadership on either side of the aisle was genuine and appalling, with Democrats led by Obama spending months calling for a no-strings-attached increase and then pushing a patently phoney-baloney gambit to raise taxes in the near-term and cut spending when we find the end of the rainbow. GOP leaders such as Sen. Mitch McConnell and Speaker John Boehner had to be strapped to PVC piping to form any sort of backbone and then managed to push a deal that is effectively a rounding error in the next decade's tab.
Who doesn't want new blood, rather than the tired batch that has been stinking up the joint for years now? And the next time that somebody posits that voters are fickle or stupid, suggest instead that we may just be desperate.