President Barack Obama’s Tuesday launch of a renewed focus on global warming left Democrats mystified and Republicans jubilant, as the much-discussed Pew Research/USA Today poll does not even list environmental issues as among voters’ top concerns.
The Obama White House’s decision to try to shift attention away from Obama’s record-low approval ratings can be seen in the splashy graphics and charts currently featured as the lead story on the White House website.
Yet according to the Pew Research/USA Today poll, voters’ top concerns rank as follows:
Health Care: 21%
Federal Budget Deficit: 19%
So why this renewed environmental push by Obama when the issue does not even register as one that matter most to voters?
Beyond an attempt to deflect attention away from his disapproval ratings, Obama may also be worried about serious erosion in support from his Democratic base. Obama’s pivot to global warming–an issue that does not even show up as a concern among everyday voters but that, nonetheless, resonates with liberal activists–may signal deep concerns that reliable donors and Democratic organizers may need a reason to lend support to staunch the looming losses Democrats face in the midterm elections.
Still, the politically tone deaf shift to global warming at a time when voters are fighting to put food on their tables may further threaten Democratic candidates whose party is increasingly seen as out of touch with the concerns of everyday Americans.
Indeed, “by more than 2-1, 65%-30%, Americans say they want the president elected in 2016 to pursue different policies and programs than the Obama administration, rather than similar ones.”