President Obama and his campaign have been trying to let you know that things are brightening up. The Iraq war is over. Unemployment is down half a point to 8.6 percent. The president is battling for your Social Security tax cut against hypocritical Republicans.
The Obama campaign itself is ladling out stories to the press that it has become newly confident of its chances.
The polls tell a different story. It’s a story of how difficult it may be for Obama and his PR machine to reverse the perception that he is not up to the job and unable to fix the economy.
According to Gallup, Obama’s popularity is right where it’s been for months, stuck at a 42 percent approval rating. This begins to sound worse when you look at the precedents. Obama’s is the lowest level of any modern president by this point in their first term by A FULL EIGHT POINTS, according to Gallup, even trailing Jimmy Carter, who had a 53 percent approval rating the December before Election Day.
An Associated Press GfK poll out today says that for the first time, a majority thinks Obama does not deserve reelection.
What’s more, people seem to get that the decline in the unemployment rate last month was not due to any magic wand waved by Obama. At least half of it was the result of people simply giving up looking for work and no longer being counted. Job creation has picked up, but not nearly enough to make a big difference.
A recent MSNBC/Wall Street Journal poll, taken well after the new unemployment number came out, finds that approval of the job Obama is doing on the economy actually declined since last month, from 40 to 39 percent.
Nothing Obama tries seems to be working. His class warfare argument is falling on deaf ears. Americans in growing numbers think of U.S. society as inherently fair, not unfair, according to Gallup.
Americans are now less likely to see U.S. society as divided into the “haves” and “have nots” than they were in 2008, returning to their views prior to that point. A clear majority, 58%, say they do not think of America in this way, after Americans were divided 49% to 49% in the summer of 2008.
This suggests that Obama is failing with his argument that evil rich people paying fewer taxes than their secretaries are causing everyone’s misery.
And there’s no sign that the president will be able to revert to selling his achievements to the public. Approval of the health care law, according to a survey by CBS this month, remains stuck at 35 percent.
Republicans still have their work cut out for them to unseat a sitting president. But don’t believe what you read about optimistic Obama operatives.