President Obama's approval numbers in the Rasmussen daily tracking poll have been quite volatile the last few weeks but today reached a new basement level -- with only 22% expressing strong approval, and 41% strong disapproval. The 19% margin favoring strong disapproval is the 2nd widest registered since Obama took office, and the 22% strong approval number is a new low.
Right after the State of the Union address, the strong approval/strong disapproval level was 35% to 39%. Overall approval/disapproval is now 45%-54%, after briefly tipping into positive territory for Obama at 50%-49% following the State of the Union. If unemployment numbers remain high, and the Democrat-controlled Congress attempts to jam an unpopular health care reform bill through using reconciliation rules in the Senate, these numbers may drop further.
For several months, Rasmussen poll numbers on Obama have been much less favorable than those from other pollsters. That is no longer the case, as many other surveys now show Obama's approval numbers in the mid to high 40s, including polls that have routinely in the past contained samples with a questionable (high) percentage of Democrats and liberals (e.g., Newsweek, Washington Post/ABC, CBS/New York Times).
The Rasmussen survey shows support for the health care bill at 39% and opposition at 58%. For liberals in Congress, a massive new entitlement that will bring 30 million more Americans into a program relying on federal subsidies to provide insurance is a 50 year dream. Leaders from safe districts (like Pelosi) seem willing to sacrifice the seats of other members, and even control of the House after 2010, in order to get a comprehensive health care reform passed. Anyone who thought that the election results, in New Jersey and Virginia in November 2009 and in Massachusetts Senate race in January, would lead to a reassessment of the Administration's priorities seems to have misunderstood the liberal passion for a big, expensive, health care reform bill. There has been no pivot to focusing on a job bills, or deficit control, which seem far higher priorities with American voters than health care reform. No televised summits are planned for these subjects.
Democrats in Congress, now face a possible loss of control in the House, with 70 or more vulnerable seats (the Republicans with fewer than 10) and Republicans leading in races for 8 Senate seats held by Democrats. Democrats in Congress are far less popular than President Obama, and the number of Americans who think the country is heading in the wrong direction is more than twice as large as the number who think the country is heading in the right direction in the latest Rasmussen survey at 65% to 28%. These are numbers similar to those in the last years of the Bush administration.
There is ample reason for Michael Barone to say the Democrats now face their worst political environment in more than half a century. The question is why they are doubling down on what brought them from the messianic approval heights of early 2009 to the current sinking levels.
Richard Baehr is chief political correspondent of American Thinker.