The Corner

Obama’s Favorability Rating Takes a Dive

Last week brought bad news for the folks at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the form of a record low in job approval for President Obama. Only 42 percent of adults approve of the job Obama is doing as president, according to the NBC/WSJ poll conducted October 25–28, while a majority (51 percent) disapprove. This was yet another data point in a trend line that was pointing downward for the president, at just the moment in time when the White House had hoped to focus on touting the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and basking in the post-shutdown damage done to the Republican brand.

Indeed, while rough news for the president’s team, it is true that his job-approval numbers have looked roughly this bad before. He was able to rebound, win reelection, and spend much of this year in positive territory. Is this time any different?

I believe it may be. Job approval is one measure of how an electorate feels about its leaders; favorability is another. On this measure, sometimes called the “fav-unfav,” Obama has always done quite well. Even in moments when a majority of Americans disapproved of his performance as president, he has always been at least neutral on this measure. People may not like how he’s running the country, but they don’t think he’s a bad guy.

What’s different about the last few weeks is that Obama has now crossed into negative territory on his fav-unfav, with only 41 percent holding a favorable view of the president in the most recent NBC/WSJ poll. 

Consider the polling in the first year after George W. Bush’s reelection. Prior to Katrina, he too had faced dips in job approval, but his favorability had always been a net positive. July 2005 was the last time the NBC/WSJ poll would show less than 50 percent of Americans disapproving of the job Bush did. By the time November 2005 rolled around, Bush’s favorables were down to 38 as was his job approval. Neither his job approval nor his favorables ever really recovered.

Obama’s job-approval numbers are not good news for his administration. They could, of course, still come back into positive territory over the next year or three. However, the fact that fewer Americans view him favorably is a signal that bringing those job-approval numbers back up could be a greater challenge than it has been before.

Most Popular

Elections

Late Campaign Stops Don’t Seem to Do Much

Growing up in New Jersey, we called nights like tonight – where there were expectations for hooliganism -- vandalism, breaking windows, and perhaps even arson, “Mischief Night.” In Detroit, they called it “Devil’s Night.” In 2020, Americans just call it “Friday.” On the menu today: wondering ... Read More
Elections

Late Campaign Stops Don’t Seem to Do Much

Growing up in New Jersey, we called nights like tonight – where there were expectations for hooliganism -- vandalism, breaking windows, and perhaps even arson, “Mischief Night.” In Detroit, they called it “Devil’s Night.” In 2020, Americans just call it “Friday.” On the menu today: wondering ... Read More

Searching for a Sign

I’ve been waiting for almost six months to see a Biden-Harris yard sign in my neighborhood. Finally one -- just one -- appeared about two weeks ago. It is large and proud. The homeowners even equipped it with a spotlight, so that it is visible at night. I’m surprised, because liberal political yard signs ... Read More

Searching for a Sign

I’ve been waiting for almost six months to see a Biden-Harris yard sign in my neighborhood. Finally one -- just one -- appeared about two weeks ago. It is large and proud. The homeowners even equipped it with a spotlight, so that it is visible at night. I’m surprised, because liberal political yard signs ... Read More
White House

Hell, Yes

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found here, here, here, here, and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the National ... Read More
White House

Hell, Yes

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found here, here, here, here, and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the National ... Read More
Media

About That ‘Uncoverable’ Biden Story

Journalists claim they can’t cover the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop because the underlying evidence has yet to been verified. Also, they won’t look for any verifying evidence because there isn’t enough evidence. It’s quite the conundrum. Because other than the now-corroborated emails, ... Read More
Media

About That ‘Uncoverable’ Biden Story

Journalists claim they can’t cover the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop because the underlying evidence has yet to been verified. Also, they won’t look for any verifying evidence because there isn’t enough evidence. It’s quite the conundrum. Because other than the now-corroborated emails, ... Read More

Another Pollster Sees a Trump Win

The Trafalgar Group’s Robert Cahaly is an outlier among pollsters in that he thinks President Trump will carry Michigan, Pennsylvania, or both, and hence be reelected with roughly 280 electoral votes. (I explained his thinking here.) Last week another pollster, Jim Lee of Susquehanna Polling and Research, ... Read More

Another Pollster Sees a Trump Win

The Trafalgar Group’s Robert Cahaly is an outlier among pollsters in that he thinks President Trump will carry Michigan, Pennsylvania, or both, and hence be reelected with roughly 280 electoral votes. (I explained his thinking here.) Last week another pollster, Jim Lee of Susquehanna Polling and Research, ... Read More
Economics

Dire Rates: The Biden Tax Plan

Despite the whopping 33.1 percent increase in third-quarter GDP, the economy is on extremely thin ice. GDP is currently about 3.5 percent below where it started in January, a drop that, if it happened all of a sudden, would signal the terrifying start of a deep recession. To be sure, policymakers should be ... Read More
Economics

Dire Rates: The Biden Tax Plan

Despite the whopping 33.1 percent increase in third-quarter GDP, the economy is on extremely thin ice. GDP is currently about 3.5 percent below where it started in January, a drop that, if it happened all of a sudden, would signal the terrifying start of a deep recession. To be sure, policymakers should be ... Read More