In the wake of his reelection victory last month, President Obama has enjoyed a steady rise in his approval ratings. According to Gallup’s daily tracking poll, Obama’s approval rating reached 58% on December 21st, a 52-week high. Election winners typically see a rise in their approval ratings in the weeks following victory. Over the last week, however, Obama has shed most of his gains.
In Gallup’s latest tracking poll, Obama’s approval rating has dropped 5 points to 53%, a considerable drop in just one week, especially considering it was a holiday week. His approval/disapproval rating is now roughly where it was when he was reelected. In short, Obama has squandered all the good will he garnered from his reelection.
During the debates over the “fiscal cliff,” the media has focused singularly on the GOP and have preemptively blamed them for any fallout arising from tax hikes or spending cuts. President Obama has waltzed through the negotiations as if he has a mandate for his position. Barely deigning to even engage in talks, he is laboring under the misconception that the public has rallied behind his proposals.
The steady drop in his approval ratings tells a different story. The drop has come as the talks have become more intense. In recent days Obama has taken to the airwaves and used his media allies to broadcast his positions to the American public. Were his positions popular with the public, his approval ratings would be rising, not falling.
The American public chose the candidate Obama over his rival Romney. But, they did not chose his policies. On issue after issue, exit polling showed the public more inclined towards the GOP position, rather than Obama’s. Gallup’s recent tracking polling, in fact, follows a trend. Obama polls well the further he is removed from the issues of the day. When his policies are at the center of the news cycle, his polling suffers.
It’s a lesson Obama–and the GOP–needs to keep in mind.