The president is taking a nosedive in the polls.
Averages from Pollster.com and RealClearPolitics.com illustrate a dramatic decline in his approval rating and and an increase in disapproval marks. Among independent voters, the two lines are converging. In Rasmussen and Zogby, the two trend lines for all voters already have crossed.
As Sam Youngman reported, the last month has been the worst of Obama’s presidency:
The Obama administration, which was flying high a month ago after pushing through a climate change bill in the House, has since been dealt a series of setbacks and is struggling to regain its footing.
After the climate bill passed 219-212 on the afternoon of June 26, there was a feeling that the White House could get much of its agenda through Congress in 2009.
A month later, there are doubts that President Obama will even achieve his number one priority of health care reform, much less cap and trade, immigration reform, and a regulatory revamp of the financial sector.
There are two explanations — the economy or something more systemic. Ben Stein thinks it is the latter:
The American people in their unimaginable kindness and trust voted for a pig in a poke in 2008. They wanted so much to believe Barack Obama was somehow better and different from other ultra-leftists that they simply took him on faith. … Now, the American people are starting to wake up to the truth. Barack Obama is a super likeable super leftist, not a fan of this country, way, way too cozy with the terrorist leaders in the Middle East, way beyond naïveté, all the way into active destruction of our interests and our allies and our future.
There is significant support for this theory. Polls show the public thinks Obama is spending too much and taking on too much power. It is not hard to conclude that Obama has been caught trying to pull off a bait and switch — he ran as a moderate and is governing as a left-winger. With ample evidence that they have been conned, the voters are now registering their disapproval.
If one accepts this interpretation of events, Obama has two options — veer toward the political center or face an ongoing backlash against his ultra-liberal policies. And if one perceives the public is uneasy — if not resentful — that they have been snookered, then the 2010 congressional elections and the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races this fall are chances to set things straight and put some restraint on the political extremism of the president.
Liberals hope this theory is wrong, of course. They imagine that the electorate realigned in 2008, the country is poised for a new New Deal, and the Democrats are on the verge of a new permanent majority. None of that is happening if it turns out the electorate didn’t actually vote for uber-liberalism and is now poised to seek a course correction.