Is Obama’s base crumbling?
[Posted by Karl]
Andrew Malcolm seems to think so, based on the new ABC News/Washington Post poll:
Strong support among liberal Democrats for Obama’s jobs record has plummeted 22 points from 53% down below a third. African Americans who believe the president’s measures helped the economy have plunged from 77% to barely half.
Obama’s overall job approval on the economy has slid below 40% for the first time, with 57% disapproving. And strong disapprovers outnumber approvers by better than two-to-one.
Malcolm may be overstating his case by a smidge. Obama’s overall approval rating in the new ABC/WaPo is almost exactly what it was in June… and marginally better than it was in April or last September. The ratio of strong dissapproval to strong approval may be the most significant internal Malcolm cites. Remember, 90% of the public is partisan and about 80-90% of those voters vote for their party’s candidate. Thus, presidential elections tend to turn on the difference in turnout between Republicans and Democrats and the distribution of the so-called Independent vote. The strong disapproval/approval ratio may bode well for the GOP in terms of turnout.
The ABC/WaPo does not break out numbers for true Indies, but Gallup suggests approval of Obama is not at an all-time low with them yet. Ruy Teixeira frets over Obama’s erosion with minorities and the youth vote, but the data is mixed. According to Pew, the GOP has recently made gains with the youth vote, but lost traction among Hispanics, despite the fact that the latter have been among the hardest hit in the recession (expect more pandering on immigration and more media avoiding reporting that Dems killed Bush’s immigration reform bill).
The latest polls may show some cracks in Obama’s foundation, but not the sort of collapse Pres. George W. Bush saw in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Most of the erosion will matter only if it results in reduced turnout for Obama in 2012. And no one will know for sure about that until it is too late.
Update: Link fixed.