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Rasmussen: Obama Loses Majority Support

July 25, 2009

According to the most recent Rasmussen poll, overall job approval of President Obama has dropped below fifty percent.  The possible explanation?  President Obama continues to hemhorrage independent support, which has dropped to thirty-seven percent.

As support for President Obama dwindles, Dick Morris remarks on the effective loss of presidential power:

Now Obama faces the loss of power that comes with dropping poll numbers. The two early symptoms of this creeping impotence are his inability to pass the union card-check legislation or to force action on healthcare before the August recess, once highly touted administration goals.

Time and again, polls show the public’s hesitancy to embrace Obama’s policy initiatives.  The president has largely relied on his powerful charisma and personal likability to encourage acceptance of legislative priorities that don’t exactly inspire the public’s confidence.  Put simply, people have faith in Obama to make programs and policies work that they otherwise might run screaming from.

Pivotal in the turning tide of public opinion is the apparent failure of stimulus to stimulate anything except government growth.  The Obama administration’s answer to to this has been scattered and increasingly desperate, from claiming that he didn’t promise near immediate recovery during the campaign to Rahm Emmanuel’s febrile attempt to claim that stimulus has “fixed” the economy.  The public simply isn’t buying these claims as unemployment continues to rise and key economic indicators continue to show little improvement, no improvement, or continued decline.

Perhaps the most damaging effect of this decline in approval is the caolescing opposition of moderate Democrats:

Will the group of moderate Democrats that is increasingly blocking his programs prove to be a lasting coalition? As long as Obama’s economic failures continue, they will grow and harden in their opposition to his radical agenda. Once their president’s popularity tanks, Democratic centrists will not look forward to running in an election defending his policies. The race to distance themselves from his failures will be on.

That’s not how Republicans work. Among the GOP, the tendency to hunker down and follow the leader into oblivion is all too obvious. The elections of 2006 and 2008 provide vivid examples. But Democrats, particularly those who sit nervously astride red states, are not made that way. Their proclivity toward dissent and independence, muzzled in times of presidential popularity, emerges when approval ratings drop.

Despite having 60 votes in the Senate, it is a serious question as to whether Obama will be able to get his controversial programs passed in the fall. The public mood is congealing against his healthcare proposals, and skepticism over the impact of cap-and-trade on American manufacturing is growing.

If Republicans can seize upon this opportunity to be more than just the party of no.  As approval for the president continues to slide, Republicans must be able to point to solid policy proposals that put America back on a track for growth and prosperity, a return to first principles, and which trim the size of a behemoth government while being careful not to appear as though they are without compassion.  In short, Republicans will be freer to concentrate not just on opposition to destructive and dangerous Obama policies, but on presenting themselves as a party of great ideas.

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