Friday, November 20, 2009

Gallup Poll, Grandaddy of Survey Organizations, Has Obama at 49 Percent Approval!

Gallup's always pretty respectable, which is why President Obama's 49 percent approval rating in the latest Gallup survey is very important.

David Paul Kuhn offers some analysis, "
Obama Below 50 in Gallup, What it Means":
Barack Obama has fallen below 50 percent in the Gallup Poll, an expected but no less significant historical marker.

The public's view of this president ranks him in the lower third of modern American politics. He has fallen below the majority threshold at the fourth fastest rate, of the twelve presidents since World War II.

Obama was nearly number three. But he escaped Ronald Reagan's fall-point by about a week. That Reagan has been here as well, and languished below 50 for two years in his first term, illustrates that Obama's new reality is notable but not determinative.

Still, it is indeed bad news for Democrats that Obama stands at 49.

In legislative terms, a president is only as powerful as he is popular. The metric for that popularity is the public approval rating.

Below 50, the president can no longer claim the majority of the public is behind him. His political arsenal depletes. And Obama's political opposition has powerful, though nebulous, new ammunition.

Obama's new reality will immediately impact the health care debate, albeit intangibly and perhaps only slightly. The White House will find it more difficult to pressure Blue Dog moderate Democrats. It no longer can claim a definitive mandate.