Go-it-alone strat­egy iso­lates Obama

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY DAVE BOYER

Pres­i­dent Obama vowed in his State of the Union ad­dress in Jan­uary that he would not stand still.

And he didn’t. In the three months since then, he has fallen.

An ABC News/Wash­ing­ton Post poll re­leased Tues­day con­firmed a trend in other sur­veys: Mr. Obama’s job ap­proval rat­ing has eroded since Jan­uary, when he an­nounced that he would em­bark on a strat­egy of ex­ec­u­tive ac­tion to by­pass a grid­locked Congress.

The poll found that 41 per­cent of Amer­i­cans ap­prove of Mr. Obama’s job per­for­mance — the low­est such rat­ing of his pres­i­dency reg­is­tered in the sur­vey — and 52 per­cent dis­ap­prove. In Jan­uary, the pres­i­dent’s ap­proval rat­ing was 46 per­cent in the same sur­vey.

“These num­bers are just flat bad for the pres­i­dent,” said Jon McHenry of the Repub­li­can polling firm North Star Opin­ion Re­search. “For all of his talk about ex­ec­u­tive ac­tion, I don’t think people are see­ing ac­tual re­sults.”

On Jan. 28, the day Mr. Obama pro­claimed in his speech the plan to use his pres­i­den­tial “phone and pen” more of­ten, the gap in his ap­proval/dis­ap­proval rat­ings on the Real Clear Pol­i­tics aver­age of polls was mi­nus 8.1 per­cent­age points. Af­ter ham­mer­ing home that theme for the past three months, Mr. Obama’s over­all neg­a­tive rat­ing has grown to mi­nus 9.2 per­cent­age points.

White House of­fi­cials have not pre­sented the ex­ec­u­tive-ac­tion strat­egy as a method to boost Mr. Obama’s pop­u­lar­ity. In­stead, they say, pres­i­den­tial moves such as the one to raise the min­i­mum wage for federal con­trac­tors are aimed at achiev­ing pol­icy re­sults for mid­dle-class Amer­i­cans.

Demo­cratic strate­gists say an­other goal is to fire up lib­eral vot­ers for the midterm elec­tions, when turnout is typ­i­cally weak.

A White House spokesman de­clined to com­ment Tues­day on the polling data.

An­a­lysts gen­er­ally be­lieve Repub­li­can will keep con­trol of the House af­ter the elec­tions, and many be­lieve they are within strik­ing dis­tance of pick­ing up the six seats needed to win back con­trol of the Se­nate.

A sur­vey re­leased Mon­day by the Demo­cratic polling firm Democ­racy Corps showed po­ten­tial trou­ble for the pres­i­dent’s party in swing districts, where 45 per­cent of Democrats ap­prove of Mr. Obama’s han­dling of his job and 52 per­cent dis­ap­prove. The poll­sters said un­mar­ried women, a key tar­get for Democrats, showed “limited in­ter­est in voting, as well as di­min­ished lev­els of sup­port for Democrats” in the poll.

The polling firm said the best Demo­cratic strat­egy for base turnout this year in­cludes talk­ing about Oba­macare but should fo­cus “over­whelm­ingly” on eco­nomic is­sues.

“Health care mes­sages are im­por­tant to Democrats’ suc­cess, but mes­sages with an eco­nomic agenda at the cen­ter are strong­est,” Democ­racy Corps said in its sur­vey, adding that Demo­cratic can­di­dates should link their op­po­nents to House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Repub­li­can, as a foil for the pres­i­dent’s jobs agenda.

While Mr. Obama is en­cour­ag­ing Democrats to run proudly on the mer­its of Oba­macare, a closely watched poll in­di­cated Tues­day that the pub­lic views the health care law as an over­all neg­a­tive. The April Kaiser Health Track­ing Poll said a late surge in Oba­macare sign-ups had no ef­fect on Amer­i­cans’ views of the health care law, with 46 per­cent hold­ing un­fa­vor­able opin­ions and 38 per­cent see­ing it in a fa­vor­able light.

Kaiser said that is no dif­fer­ent from last month, de­spite Mr. Obama’s cel­e­bra­tion of 8 mil­lion people who signed up for pri­vate health care plans un­der his sig­na­ture over­haul.

Still, 58 per­cent want their con­gres­sional rep­re­sen­ta­tives to try to im­prove the law and 35 per­cent want them to work on re­peal­ing and re­plac­ing Oba­macare.

“As ex­pected, Repub­li­cans are far more likely to say the law is still not work­ing than Democrats, with in­de­pen­dents in the mid­dle,” the non­par­ti­san Kaiser Fam­ily Foun­da­tion said. “Among Democrats, though, about a third be­lieves the law is still not work­ing.”

While con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans view Oba­macare as a way to mo­ti­vate their base, Mr. Boehner showed Tues­day that they also are em­brac­ing an elec­tion-year strat­egy of try­ing to blame the pres­i­dent and Se­nate Democrats for fail­ing to cre­ate jobs with projects such as the stalled Key­stone XL oil pipe­line.

“The pres­i­dent should pick up his phone and call Se­nate lead­ers to move these House-passed jobs bills that would pro­vide bet­ter jobs for the Amer­i­can people, more jobs, and a higher stan­dard of liv­ing,” Mr. Boehner said.

“The pres­i­dent should pick up his phone and call Se­nate lead­ers to move these House-passed jobs bills that would pro­vide bet­ter jobs for the Amer­i­can people, more jobs, and a higher stan­dard of liv­ing,” House Speaker John A. Boehner said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.