Throughout the Obama Administration, the president has been able to count on the solid support of Democrats. Not anymore.
According to the FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll, Obama’s job approval among Democrats has dropped from 84% two weeks ago (June 29-30) to 76% on July 13-14. At 76%, this level of job approval is below any the Fox News poll has ever recorded.
Why the collapse? Most likely it is due to liberal disappointment with the continuation of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the continued use of Guantanamo, Obama’s inability to cope with the oil spill, and his refusal to push immigration reform when he could have passed it before he lost his 60 vote majority. Undoubtedly, the renewed sluggishness in the economy is also playing its part.
Nothing could be worse news for Obama as he enters the 2010 Congressional campaign. Democratic dissatisfaction saps turnout and undermines the president’s efforts to keep his majorities in the House and the Senate.
But Obama is making his troubles worse by his insistence on focusing on his minority voters to the exclusion of even the white liberal electorate. Consider Obama’s decision to sue Arizona over its immigration law. The general electorate backs the Arizona statute by 59-29 according to the FOX News poll. But 38% of Democrats support it as well (50% oppose it). Obama’s refusal to prosecute the Black Panthers for voter intimidation after they stationed themselves outside a Philadelphia polling place in military uniforms with clubs also underscores the growing exclusion of whites of all stripes — including liberals — from the Obama base.
Polarizing the electorate over hot button issues has long been a viable strategy, especially for incumbents in political trouble. But usually they do so along lines that still gives them a majority of the voters. Obama has polarized the voters but has given himself only the short end of the stick. Not very smart.