President Barack Obama’s first five months in office have seen his job approval remain stable overall – currently at a politically healthy 57 – 33 percent, but his disapproval has risen 8 – 10 points among several key demographic groups even as the national mood has improved somewhat in recent months, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.
Approval among independent voters is 52 – 37 percent, compared to 57 – 30 percent in a June 4 survey […]. The survey of more than 3,000 voters also finds that voters feel 32 – 30 percent that things in the nation have gotten better since President Obama was inaugurated. Independent voters say 32 – 27 percent that things are worse, with 40 percent saying things are the same.
Also, Rasmussen shows similar overall approval numbers, which usually fall in line with the number of independents who give the President a thumbs up…
Overall, 53% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President’s performance so far. Forty-six percent (46%) disapprove.
So what does this mean from a political survival standpoint…
First, the White House should be on notice, especially when it comes to the upcoming health care fight. In a post-Bush world, Obama can’t afford to play partisan games and shut the other side out of the debate. He has to be inclusive and at least think about developing a plan that appeases moderate members on both sides. That’s nearly impossible in the House since most of those Republicans are from very red districts, but in the Senate he can afford to lose folks like Snowe, Grassley, Collins and even the newly Democratic Specter. He needs those folks on board and publicly supporting him, otherwise independents will continue to leave.
Second, he has to reign in Pelosi. She has been running the show in the House and her partisan ways have been spread a lot of ill will. I’m not exactly sure why she doesn’t realize that her President promised bi-partisanship, but she better soon or risk facing a big turnaround in 2010. Now, this happened to Clinton and he was still a two termer, but Obama is becoming a more polarizing figure and it could hurt him more for the 2012 run.
Last, he should be very careful with this new supermajority and only use it when the public’s approval is firmly behind him. Otherwise, Independents will simply label Obama the liberal Bush and that’s a meme that will stick.
So those are my thoughts. What are yours?