OBAMA FRUSTRATES THE VERY PEOPLE HE SEEMS TO WANT TO PLEASE THE MOST
President Obama's approval rating seems to have settled at 43% in -- it's been there, unchanged, all month, according to Gallup -- but it's gone down over the course of this year, and Gallup explains who's particularly disappointed now (and who isn't):
Obama's approval rating has decreased among all six partisan/ideology groups Gallup tracks on a regular basis since January, but it has dropped the most -- 10 percentage points, from 40% to 30% -- among pure independents. These are the roughly 14% of national adults who neither identify with one of the two major parties nor indicate a leaning. Obama's approval rating has declined by nearly as much -- eight points -- among moderate/liberal Republicans, from 29% to 21%.
Obama's approval rating has changed the least in 2011 among the two groups on the far left and right of the U.S. political spectrum. Most liberal Democrats and very few conservative Republicans approved of him in January and this remains the case today. Additionally, conservative Democrats' views also showed little change -- likely because their approval was already at a dampened 70% at the start of the year.
So the premise of Jonathan Chait's recent feature article in New York magazine -- that liberals are angry at Obama because they get angry at all Democratic presidents -- seems to be truer only for the subset of liberals who are professional pundits or bloggers. Ordinary liberals are still Obama fans.
But more interesting to me is the fact that the president has courted the center so hard for three years -- and yet it's centrists who've gotten off the bus. Pundits from the center and right will say it's because he's "playing the class warfare card" lately; I'd argue that it's because pure centrists (and the dying breed of moderate and liberal Republicans) actually want results, and they know they aren't getting those results. Congress gets blamed, yes, but so does the president. The GOP economic-stonewall strategy works with regard to Obama's status among swing voters.
Meanwhile, if Obama really is becoming more of a rhetorical lefty, liberals don't seem to notice. And if he was less of a lefty at the beginning of the year, the right didn't notice that.
But my takeaway is that Obama still has people crushing on him, but not the object of his own deepest crush.