President Barack Obama’s approval rating has dropped to 43% in a new Reuters/Ipsos poll. That’s down 7 points from February 19 — perhaps not coincidentally, the week that the president began to ratchet up fear about the sequester.
Most of that steep drop came in the week to February 26 when it was becoming clear that Washington was going to be unable to put aside partisan differences and agree to halt automatic budget cuts which started last Friday.
Confounding the White House’s efforts to blame Republicans for the cuts, most respondents in the online survey hold both Democrats and Republicans responsible.
Obama shot out of the gate in January at the start of his second four years in the White House, promising gun control and immigration legislation as well as efforts to tackle climate change and expand gay rights.
But Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said the survey shows Obama’s honeymoon is now over, partly due to the “sequestration” cuts which will likely curtail public services like air traffic control and national parks as well as funding for the Pentagon.
“People are seeing things are back to business as usual in Washington,” she said. “They are reading about the immense fallout this is going to have in terms of how it’s going to affect the military and individuals.”
Thirty-eight percent of Americans believe all the political actors involved – Republican and Democratic members of Congress along with Obama – deserve most of the blame for the cuts.
Twenty-seven percent think Republicans in Congress are responsible, 17 percent blamed Obama and 6 percent thought Democrats were to blame. Nearly half of independent voters, 49 percent, said both sides deserve the blame.
Only 27% think the GOP is to blame? That means that not even all Democrats think Republicans are responsible for this mess. If Obama can’t convince his own party, it’s probable those numbers are going to get worse.