In the first year and a half of Obama’s presidency, polls showed that while Americans agreed that the economy is bad, they remained optimistic that it was turning around. That optimism faded in the late spring of 2010 and a consensus that it is bad and getting worse has congealed ever since. But, until recently, voters have refused to blame Obama for the bad economy and still pinned the main responsibility on former President George W. Bush.
Now that has changed. According to a new FOX News survey (July 17-19, 2011), voters now believe that Obama’s economic policies are making things worse. While only 34% feel they are making things better, 49% believe his policies are making things worse.
And key constituency groups on whom the president must rely agree with the view that his policies are hurting. Independents agree they are worsening the situation by 30-50. Voters under 35 agree by 28-45. All white voters agree by 26-58. If young people and Independents run out on Obama, he is finished.
Even among subgroups that still feel Obama’s policies are working, the support is barely above 50%. Nonwhites think that Obama’s efforts are helping to make things better by 56-24 and Democrats agree by 58-17 that they are improving things. But these tepid margins are scarcely the stuff of which rapid support is made.
Meanwhile, pessimism about the economy’s future is intensifying. 58% of all voters think things are getting worse while only 26% see an improvement. One year ago, 52% said the economy was getting worse and 35% saw it improving.
Overall, Obama’s job approval has inched down in the FOX News poll steadily since his bin Laden high. On May 15-17 it stood at 55%. By June 5-7 it had dropped to 48%. On June 26-28, it was down to 46% and in the most recent poll on July 17-19, 2011 it had fallen to 45%.
And, according to other polls, Obama trials a generic Republican candidate and now only runs even with the strongest Republican alternative — Mitt Romney — at 45% apiece. Since the undecided vote always goes against the incumbent, this is truly a dismal showing.
Polls reflect a key message: Voters are waking up!