At the end of President Obama’s first hundred days, Jonathan Alter wrote:
Crisis leadership is, above all, about restoring confidence. Just as FDR got the country believing again in capitalism and democracy, Obama is so far making good on his pledge to navigate in a new direction. The people are responding. From January to April, the percentage of Americans saying the country is on the “right track” went up 23 points under Obama. The figure was flat or down for the previous three presidents.
The “right track/wrong track” gap did narrow for a while, but according to the latest Quinnipiac poll, Americans are dissatisfied “with the way things are going in the nation today” by a margin of 64–35 percent. The same poll showed his job approval at 50 percent, its lowest point yet.
At the end of the first hundred days, Obama supporters faced the temptation of overconfidence. Now his opponents face the same temptation. All presidents have slumps, but many find ways of bouncing back. For all their stumbles, President Obama and his crew still have impressive political skills and resources. Conservatives underestimate them at their peril.