The Corner

Californians Tire of Obama, Still Hate Republicans

As John Fund noted earlier, President Obama’s approval rating is in freefall in California. John links to a Sacramento Bee report that records:

President Barack Obama’s approval ratings have fallen to a record low in California, with nearly as many voters now disapproving of the job Obama is doing as approving.

Only 45 percent of California voters hold a favorable view of Obama’s job performance, according to a new Field Poll released today, down 5 percentage points from June and dropping below 50 percent for the first time since late 2011. Disapproval climbed to 43 percent.

Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll, said the trend is ominous for Obama, because the latest declines come from his base.

This isn’t great for Obama, certainly. But it’s “ominous” in what way exactly? Barack Obama is not running for president again, and, even if he were, the idea that he would lose California to a Republican challenger is preposterous. Turnout in the mid-terms doesn’t really matter, because neither of California’s senators are up for re-election and because there is likely only one truly vulnerable House Democrat in the entire state. And, at the local level, the consequences are similarly tiny: “The California Democratic Party,” the Bee notes “is trying to rebuild its two-thirds supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature after three of its senators were suspended in March.” Meanwhile, Jerry Brown is absolutely crushing his challenger in the polls. Suppose the Democrats are just about kept from enjoying supermajority status? Can this really be held up as a Republican victory?

I think not. While voters in the state may well be disappointed with Barack Obama, they are in no way becoming more friendly toward Republicans. Because America essentially has a two party system, it can be tempting on occasion to see politics as a zero-sum game. In this case, however, it’s not. Look at why Californians are falling away:

Support among California Democrats dropped 8 percentage points to 68 percent over the last three months. Approval was down 11 points in Los Angeles County and 7 points in theBay Area, usually liberal strongholds.

“These are constituencies that have been strong followers,” DiCamillo said. But there’s “frustration in the president not getting his way in affecting policy in Washington.”

Put another way, his staunchest supporters on the Left are finally getting tired of him — because he’s not getting them what they want.

Obama’s approval ratings have dropped steadily across the country since his second term began, though they have remained stronger in California than in most states. As high as 62 percent following his 2013 inauguration, support for Obama in California has hovered over 50 percent for the past year.

Thus is California falling out of love last. “Even Obama’s Democratic base is starting to wilt,” the Bee records.

That has been a source of frustration for James Gay, 53, a liberal Democrat from Folsom who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012.

“I liked the man from the beginning, but then as it went on, he kind of changed face,” Gay said. “It’s like he tried to please too many people in too many places and didn’t stick to his vision.”

That “vision” is a progressive one. You will note that Gay is not running to change his voter registration. Instead, he’s considering giving up voting completely:

Gay is still planning to vote, but his general unhappiness with Obama, partisan bickering in Congress and corruption in Sacramento has him reconsidering whom he will support, and whether he will even continue to vote in the future.

“It might be my last time that I do,” he said. “It leaves a bad taste in your mouth as a voter.”

A bad taste, it seems, that Republicans are not going to cleanse.


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