|Stock Photograph by White House Public Domain|
Unfortunately for Obama, the McClatchy/Marist poll is not an anomaly. In fact, the vast majority of pollster's who have examined the President's job approval rating since his reelection have found a decline in his numbers, especially since the sequester took effect just two weeks ago. Consider for example the two daily tracking polls, Gallup and Rasmussen. Before March 1st, the day the budget sequestration officially went into effect, Barack Obama managed an average daily job approval rating of 52/42%, a net +10 points, since his reelection. But an average of Gallup surveys taken after the sequester shows his job rating has fallen to 48/45%, a net decline of 7 points. Meanwhile, the Rasmussen daily tracking survey shows Obama has averaged a 51/48% job approval rating since the sequestration went into effect, compared to a 54/45% job rating from his reelection to March 1st.
The chart below compiles a list of every polling survey on Barack Obama's job approval rating I could find. While poll trackers like Pollster and TPM are helpful, they are often incomplete, excluding various pollsters for particular reasons. The below chart is more complete than any single 1 of the poll trackers, and compiles Barack Obama's average job rating from his reelection last November to today:
**Job approval info courtesy of TPM poll tracker, Huffington Post Pollster, pollingreport.com, and random personal searches.
***Rasmussen and Gallup track the President's approval rating daily. As a result, their numbers in the above chart represent weekly averages.
As you can see, the drop in Obama's approval rating since the sequester has shown in up in a majority of pollsters testing this question. Among ALL pollsters, Obama's average job approval rating was a fair 52-44% from his reelection until March 1, 2013. Since the sequester, Obama's job rating has averaged a considerably lower 47% approval, 47% disapproval. For historical perspective, on this date in 2005, Real Clear Politics found President George W. Bush's job approval/disapproval rating at 51/47%. RCPs averages are based on samples that are relatively fresh, kicking out old survey data as new data becomes available, so it is a likely reflection of Bush's standing with the American public in the first part of March, 2005. Comparatively, GWB fared 4 points better than Obama is faring now.
What does all of this mean for Obama? Well, if the drop in public support is part of a more lasting shift, and not just a temporary dip, he can expect a tougher time getting through his second term agenda (e.g., raising the minimum wage), and a more combative GOP. Not only that, as 2010 showed us, a President's approval ratings can have a huge effect on midterm elections. Among 2010 voters, the President's job rating on election day was an anemic 44/55%, and that was good enough for a 51-45% national popular vote victory for the GOP. So the further Obama's numbers drop, the more unlikely it is that things like this will happen. As Harry Enten noted yesterday, we're already seeing signs that as the President's numbers fall, his party comes tumbling after.
This looks an awful bit like Q-Pac... and the gap between GOP cong and Dem Cong on approval is closing mcclatchydc.com/2013/03/11/185…
— Harry Enten (@ForecasterEnten) March 11, 2013