A Rising Tide to Sink His Boat23 January 2010
The Gallup Organization has acknowledged that the President's disapproval rating and approval rating are now matched, at 47%. I am highly skeptical that it took until now for that to happen.
[Correction and Up-Date (2010:01/24):
It seems that initial reports were slightly off, that Gallup reported a 48% approval level and 47% disapproval level. And to-day they report both as simultaneously holding steady, skating against each other. (2010:01/25): Well, no, the Gallup Orgainzation indeed had them equal in their report for 20-22 Jan; then they showed his approval rating ticking up to 48% while the disapproval rating held steady.]
The Financial Times explains that things are almost certainly going to become more awkward for the President. The Republicans smell blood; moderate Democrats feel more free (or obliged) to say no. The Secretary of the Treasury is enmeshed in scandal over his actions when with the Federal Reserve; the Chairman of the Fed may not have the votes for reconfirmation.
I'd note other things. Unemployment has stayed high; some of the President's defenders say that there isn't much that he can do about that, but he and his party hugely increased the deficit on the claim that they could, with few people now believing that the money were well spent. The American automotive manufacturing industry has no real prospects for long-term health. The two wars that so many voters expected to be neatly or quickly resolved (one of which Obama said must be fought to victory) are still grinding-up American soldiers. Russia and China want Iran to continue to be a problem. The Guantanamo naval prison is still unclosed, and the ACLU has denounced the plan to continue holding prisoners without trial once they are relocated. Skepticism about anthropogenic climate change is growing, and supposed points of no return have been passed. The world still treats America with disdain, and much of it is on the cusp of telling us that Obama is a failure or that he's better than we deserve or both.
It is very likely that the Gallup Organization will one day report that this President's disapproval rating has passed 50%.