Slip Slidin' Away
I don't spend much time looking at poll numbers in off-years, for the same reason I don't eat canned beets: It's unpleasant and unnecessary. But this PPP study was just too juicy to pass up:
A Democratic polling firm said President Obama's already weak job-approval numbers are "worse than they appear" and he likely would lose the election if it were held today.
For the first time in a year, Mr. Obama does not lead former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in Public Policy Polling's monthly national poll on the 2012 presidential race. They are tied at 45 percent, and Mr. Obama is losing among independent voters by a margin of 49 percent to 44 percent.
Worse for Mr. Obama, PPP said, the "vast majority" of undecideds disapprove of the president's performance. The survey of registered voters was conducted July 15-17.
"There's a very good chance Barack Obama would lose if he had to stand for re-election today," said Dean Debnam, president of PPP. "This is his worst poll standing in a long time, and he really needs the economy to start turning around."
It's starting to feel like 2005 or 2009 -- when the incumbent party clueless as to the depths of public disgust with them. As late as the spring of '06, GOP strategists were simply clueless, talking about how money and name recognition would save their majority. The Democrats were just as bad, convinced somehow that everything would be just fine last November. Seriously -- it wasn't until late summer/early fall that "reputable" polling firms got serious about talking about a GOP takeover.
By "reputable," of course, I mean "anybody but Rasmussen."
President Obama should have gotten a wakeup call, but this White House is constitutionally unable to change course. I don't know if that's due entirely to the man at the top, or if his advisors, cabinet, czars, and syncophants reinforce Obama's essential intransigence. Whatever the case, their entire strategy -- for dealing with immediate problems and next year's campaign -- seems to consist of the same two steps, repeated as needed:
1. Make dangerous, stupid policies.
2. Make sure the Republicans get slightly more blame for them than the President.
Oh, and I guess there's a third step: Re-election! But, like the underwear gnomes or getting directions in Maine, I'm not sure how they get there from here.
The feeling I get -- But a Lot Can Happen Between Now and the Election™ -- is that if the GOP can pair a credible candidate with a not-too crazy Veep, there's going to be a whole lot of red on next year's map. Public sentiment has turned nasty against this President -- and for good reason.