By Mark Esposito
Even the President joined the “Amen Chorus” from the Right. The Midterms were about change and disgust with the status quo. “I hear you,” the President said, but what exactly did he hear? Seems he heard an America that had it with inaction and “do-nothingness,”not the performance of the resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Despite dire predictions of popular unrest if Obama “went it alone” on immigration reform, the budget, protecting health care and political muscle flexing using the veto pen, the President now enjoys a 20-month high in approval ratings from those “disgruntled” citizens who voted in the Midterms. A CNN/ORC poll showed Tuesday that at 48% of those polled approve of the job Obama is doing. That’s the highest rating in CNN polling since May 2013. Still about 50% of Americans disapprove of the job performance but minds appear to be changing since the current figure represents a 7 point jump from a year ago. What happened?
Like all matters of cause and effect, it’s murky but the rising economic tide has a lot to do with it as deficits fall, unemployment dips and the Dow Jones soars to unprecedented heights and maybe those relics from the 50s return — gas price wars. There’s also the President showing guts where Congress has none on immigration reform and opening the door to better relations with Cuba. Both Republican bugaboos that the opposition said would wreck the President’s last two years in office. The numbers are in and it hasn’t.
The surge comes among three distinct advancing social groups: women, millennials and, what must gall Republicans, independent voters who carry most elections. Predictably, the President lost ground among men, Republicans and those age 35-49 but the ten point rise from just a month ago from the big three “comers” in American demographics easily offset the small drop from other more conservative segments of the population. So what to make of the numbers?
There is no doubt that Obama still disappoints many Americans. About 56% in the poll say Obama has fallen short of expectations and 49% think his policies are taking the country down the wrong road (about equal to those who say the same thing about Congress) but the important factor is that many are willing to give the President the benefit of the doubt when it comes to dealing in good faith with the problems facing the nation. Even if that trust means going against the will of the people they elected to represent them.
Americans deeply distrust the Republican stymied US Congress awarding them approval ratings in the single digits. Half of Americans say that their Congressperson doesn’t care what they think, while only 24% think that they do. “A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just seven percent (7%) of likely U.S. Voters rate Congress’s performance as good or excellent. Sixty-seven percent (67%) rate their performance as poor.” This comes as 59% of the population predicts the new Republican Congress will be a disappointment.
So the mandate is in from the crew of the Ship of State and it is decidedly undecipherable except to say that, perhaps, the much predicted mutiny against the captain seems a bit premature.
Sources: CNN and throughout.