Thursday, September 3, 2009

A deeper look at Obama approval shifts

With all this talk of Barack Obama's approval falling apart, I thought it would be interesting to compare where his approval rating was in April and where it is now among some key voter groups to separate out the facts from the myths:


-Health care is causing conservative Democrats to abandon Obama. In April our national polling found his approval with them at 67%, now it's actually at 69%. That doesn't mean they necessarily agree with the President on this issue- they broke down 48/29 in support on our most recent poll- but it's not a deal breaker in overall perceptions of him with most of those voters.

-Liberal voters are unhappy with Obama for not being forceful enough in enacting a progressive agenda. I get this from blog commenters all the time but it's just not broadly true. Five months ago his approval with liberal Democrats was 86%, now we find that up to 94%. One thing the President most certainly does not have is a base problem.

-Obama's lost all of his support from moderate Republicans. His approval with them in April was 34%, and it's still 34%. That's not an enormous amount of favor but it's surely better than George W. Bush's numbers with moderate Democrats for the bulk of his administration.


-Obama's losing favor with conservative leaning independent voters. These seem to be the folks who health care is giving him the hardest time with- only 13% of them say they're with him on that issue and the price to pay for that is a drop in his approval with them from 31% in April to now 16%. The question you have to ask yourself about these folks is whether Obama had any chance of not losing their favor if he actually pursued his policy agenda- maybe he could have kept them happy by doing nothing, but then what's the point of being President?

-He's had a modest decline with moderate independents- from 64% to 57%. This is where I would be most concerned if I was Obama because they may be the group of voters most inclined to swing from election to election. I think the bottom line with these folks is concern for the economy- they're blaming Obama now more so than earlier in the year because they're impatient to see progress in their lives and whether they vote for him again in 2012 is probably dependent on the extent to which things have turned around.

Here's the full data:


April Approval

August Approval

Liberal Democrats



Moderate Democrats



Conservative Democrats



Moderate Independents



Moderate Republicans



Conservative Independents



Conservative Republicans



1 comment:

Billy Townsend said...

I'm curious. Is there no such category as liberal or progressive independent. If not, I find that odd, because that's precisely how I would describe myself, based on my registration and personal leanings.

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