A new CNN poll released Monday generated a lot of attention on the dramatic drop in President Obama’s approval ratings. The top-line approval numbers were not the most troubling news for the White House, however. Obama now polls much worse than President Bush did on handling government surveillance and protecting civil liberties.
Just 35% of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of government surveillance on citizens. 61% disapprove. This is 13 points worse than President Bush scored in the Spring of 2006, just months before the Democrats seized control of Congress. In a poll in May, 2006, 39% approved of how Bush was handling the issue, while 52% disapproved. Bush’s numbers came amidst a large outcry from the left and the media criticizing his Administration’s anti-terror policies. Yet, today, Obama’s numbers are worse.
Also in Monday’s CNN poll, 43% of Americans said the Obama Administration had “gone too far” in restricting citizens’ civil liberties. In the Fall of 2006, just 39% of Americans said the same thing about Bush.
Much of Obama’s first campaign for President was driven by his opposition to Bush’s anti-terrorism policies and the government’s surveillance activities. Not only has Obama continued these policies; in many cases he has expanded them.
Unfortunately for the White House, the American people have noticed this fact.