In the latest CNN News poll President Barack Obama’s approval rating dropped 8% over the past month to 45%, which the lowest rating CNN has found in more than a year and a half. Inside the numbers, however, the poll is a disaster for more than just President Obama’s approval rating, but rather for the Democratic philosophy of big government.
The CNN/ORC International survey released Monday morning comes amid the White House being bogged down in several scandal controversies over the massive U.S. government surveillance program, known as Prism; the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups who applied for tax-exempt status; the administration’s misdirection over the September 11 attack in Benghazi that left the U.S. Ambassador and three other Americans dead; and the Justice Department’s secret collection of journalists’ phone records as part of a government investigation into classified leaks, including the classification of James Rosen as a “co-conspirator.”
The poll found that for the first time in Obama’s presidency, and I would argue has been the metal in his armor, half of the public says they don’t believe Barack Obama is an honest and trustworthy president. Americans are split on the controversial National Security Agency anti-terrorism program to record metadata on U.S. phone calls.
According to the poll, Americans support the NSA program that targets records of Internet usage by people in other countries, however, they do not necessarily agree with what is going on, as just over 6 in 10 Americans report that government is so large and powerful that it now threatens the rights and freedoms of ordinary Americans.
In the poll that was conducted Tuesday through Thursday of last week, a slight majority – 52% – disapprove of the actions of Edward Snowden, the man who leaked sensitive information about the NSA Prism program. A similar number – 54% – agree that Edward Snowden, who has fled to Hong Kong, should be brought back to the United States and prosecuted, but 44% approve of Snowden’s actions.
The president’s approval rating stands at 45%, which is down from 53% in the last CNN/ORC survey conducted in mid-May, and 54% say they disapprove of how Obama’s handling his job, up 9% from last month. It’s the first time since November 2011, that the CNN poll found that a majority of Americans have had a negative view of the president. CNN Polling Director Keating Holland, said:
The drop in Obama’s support is fueled by a dramatic 17-point decline over the past month among people under 30, who, along with black Americans, had been the most loyal part of the Obama coalition.
The president also dropped 10% among independent voters, from 47% last month to 37% now, with Obama’s disapproval among independents jumping 12% from 49% to 61%.
What’s behind the drop? Holland believes:
It is clear that revelations about NSA surveillance programs have damaged Obama’s standing with the public, although older controversies like the IRS matter may have begun to take their toll as well.
His observation among young voters is paramount, and now 6 in 10 Americans disapprove of how Obama is handling government surveillance of U.S. citizens, which is actually higher than the 52% who disapproved of George W. Bush on the same issue in 2006, when then-Senator Barack Obama was slamming the President’s leadership on the War on Terror.
Obama’s approval rating on terrorism, although still above 50%, has dropped 13% since mid-May, and his approval rating on domestic issues such as the economy, immigration and the deficit have dropped from 2% – 4% respectively.
Americans’ views on Obama personally have finally declined, and aside from polls conducted immediately after the Denver presidential debate, Obama has never had to content with such a level of disappointment.
The number of Americans who think he is honest has dropped 9% over the past month, from 58% to 49%, while 57% of those questioned say they disagree with the president’s views on the size and power of the federal government. This is a serious problem for the entire philosophy of the Democratic party. A staggering 53% of Americans say that he cannot even manage the government effectively.
It is the fundamental philosophical debate that has the potential to hurt the president’s party as a whole, and 43% of the public report that the Obama administration has gone too far in restricting civil liberties to fight terrorism, while 38% reported the administration has been about right and 17% saying it has not gone far enough.
In a recent Rasmussen survey, only 24% of Americans trust the government to do the right thing most or all of the time, even though 51% in the CNN poll reported that the data collection was the right thing to do. While 6 in 10 Americans believe that the government has collected their personal information, 57% of Americans believe that the government will misuse the information and target political opposition groups.
What we see developing is the usual American pragmatism is now clashing with their philosophical distrust in government. This has presented an enormous opportunity for the GOP in the 2014 midterm elections, because if the president is viewed as untrustworthy in the office he holds, then the only option the American voters have is to instill a greater opposition presence in Congress to check the powers of the executive.
To be sure, this is the route and argument the GOP should be making, and not in the run up to the elections either, but right now as to solidify the narrative in the minds of Americans while their skepticism remains high. The reduction in support for President Obama is among the groups of Americans that the GOP now has an opportunity to appeal to – in particular young voters.
With all of the talk from Senator Graham R-SC, and other prominent GOP establishment members who are firmly convinced that the future electoral success of the GOP lays in the Hispanic vote, little is being recognized regarding the opportunity to handicap Democrats with young voters, who are primarily concerned with intrusions to individual liberties.
If the GOP was wise, then they would be following the lead of Senator Rand Paul R-KY, Senator Mike Lee R-UT, and other fresh face conservatives who are champions of the Bill of Rights in the libertarian wing of the GOP.
Consequentially, Gallup measured President Obama’s approval rating on Nov. 1, 2010, just before the 2010 midterm elections to be 45%.