OFA’s Tough Sell

by Andrew Stiles

My article on the homepage looks at Organizing for Action (OFA), the campaign operation-turned-grassroots lobbying machine whose recent struggles highlight the disconnect between President Obama’s personal popularity and the American public’s skepticism toward many of his key policies, particularly with respect to gun control:

Many factors are driving the president’s and OFA’s inability to gain traction on the issue. Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), who has a “B” lifetime rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and is trying to protect red-state Democrats up for reelection in 2014, simply does not have the votes for a bill to impose greater controls on background checks. “They don’t have the votes to get to 51, much less 60,” says a GOP aide. “They’re losing on policy and they’re losing on message. We feel pretty good about our chances of stopping any bill that threatens the Second Amendment.”

Conservative critics argue that OFA’s troubles reveal a hard truth about Obama that Democrats tend to overlook: The president’s personal popularity does not extend to his policies. “It just shows that many people wiling to carry the Obama campaign sign have no interest in getting activated on behalf on his policy goals,” says Jonathan Collegio, communications director for American Crossroads.

CNN is out with a poll today that reinforces this dynamic. Obama maintains an overall approval rating of 51 percent, but when it comes to individual issues, most Americans aren’t satisfied with what they’re seeing from the president. Here’s a breakdown of his approval/disapproval rating on key issues:

  • Gun policy: 45% / 52%
  • The economy: 44% / 54%
  • Taxes: 46% / 52%
  • Health care policy: 44% / 54%
  • The federal budget deficit: 38% / 58%
  • Illegal immigration: 44% / 50%
  • Social Security and Medicare: 44% / 52%

More here.

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