Obama Losing Support Among White Voters

From the Los Angeles Times, “Obama Is Fast Losing White Voters’ Support”:

After a summer of healthcare battles and sliding approval ratings for President Obama, the White House is facing a troubling new trend: The voters losing faith in the president are the ones he had worked hardest to attract.

New surveys show steep declines in Obama’s approval ratings among whites — including Democrats and independents — who were crucial elements of the diverse coalition that helped elect the country’s first black president.

Among white Democrats, Obama’s job approval rating has dropped 11 points since his 100-days mark in April, according to surveys by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. It has dropped by 9 points among white independents and whites over 50, and by 12 points among white women — all groups that will be targeted by both parties in next year’s midterm elections.

“While Obama has a lock on African Americans, his support among white voters seems to be almost in a free fall,” said veteran Republican pollster Neil Newhouse.

Strategists in both parties blame Obama’s decline on growing discontent with his policy agenda, particularly after a month of often-rowdy debate over his proposed healthcare overhaul, in which some conservatives accused him of socialism. Obama’s ratings seem likely to rise again if he wins passage of healthcare legislation this fall.

But the drop in support among whites also comes as some conservatives have stoked controversies that have the potential to further erode Obama’s standing among centrists — including some controversies that resulted from White House stumbles.

The rest of the article is here.

The piece reviews most of the latest flops at the White House, starting with the Van Jones debacle. The larger lesson is the realization among the main core of the voting electorate that this presidency is not only off the tracks, but that the destination was to Looneyville in the first place.

President Obama’s speeches have by now become deadening displays of serious sameness. What was once uplifting exhortations of soaring rhetorical promise are now routine but crass appeals for the public to save the Democrats’ hard left agenda. Fewer and fewer people remain enthralled by the promising rhetoric and are now making straighforward interest-based calculations on whether to give the president the benefit of the doubt.

The key is not so much what happens this week, when Obama gives his address to the nation. What’s important is that the administration learn from its mistakes so far. Why Obama thinks he’ll sway opinion on the public option is unclear. It’s not like the conservatives are going to all of a sudden abandon the tea parties and the coordinated media and grassroots campaign of political opposition. Obama needs some kind of effective policy of triangulation. The hardline radicals at the base of the Democratic Party can whine all they want, but they’ve got nowhere else to go. Perhaps a few primary challenges will go their way, but the record of these so far is unspectacular. They’ll be back in the Obama camp in due time. That leaves the broad middle of the electorate that the administration is now losing, and the hard right that’s now driving the debate.

Conservative activists have already held a funeral for ObamaCare. And last month the administration began shifting the debate to “insurance reform” (and not “universal coverage”). Perhaps some additional talking points on liberating markets might go a long way in restoring receptivity for the message. Giving up altogether would be a disaster for the Democrats, although Obama’s new talk of entitlement reform could be a signal that he’s ready to move on from the healtcare albatross.

Either way, conservatives have scored huge victories. We’ll see in 2010 not just a midterm repudiation of the Democrats, but perhaps an electoral earthquake on the scale of 1994.

Cross-posted from American Power.

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