The Campaign Spot

Obama’s Approval Rating on Handling the Spill Hits 40 Percent

The latest numbers from Gallup aren’t quite a crisis for the Obama administration, but they suggest one might be in the works:

By a six-point margin, more Americans disapprove than approve of President Barack Obama’s handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The president’s 40 percent approval rating on the oil spill trails his overall job approval rating by seven points.

He campaigned as a problem solver and as Mr. Fix-It, and he’s proving that there are some problems that can’t be solved or fixed.

In and of itself, the spill wouldn’t be a presidency-defining problem. But when you place it alongside high unemployment . . . and a lousy housing market and high foreclosure rate in much of the country . . . and a runaway deficit, even by the standards of our usual runaway deficits . . . and a stock market starting to slump more seriously . . . and no sign of Iran’s nuclear program slowing down . . . and no serious consequence for North Korea sinking a South Korean ship . . . and smelly backroom deals involving executive-branch positions and Democratic senate primaries . . . and daily reminders that the health-care legislation won’t live up to the hype . . . and a series of near-misses on the war on terror, where large bureaucracies fail to intervene in time and only sharp-eyed and fast-acting citizens prevent terrible consequences . . . well, it all starts to add up to a pattern.

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