Saturday, November 28, 2009

Presidential Approval for November

President Obama continue to scrape the low point of his Presidency in terms of public approval, although he consistently this month has remained just above his November vote margins. Media reports have talked a great deal about him breaking the "50% approval" threshold in major polls, including the Gallup poll (which many, myself included, consider the gold standard in polling.) While this is true, the more relevant number is his approve minus disapprove and that is holding at around 8%. His monthly tracking is below.

On a monthly basis, with November nearly over, his numbers stand at +8.8%, a 2.4% drop-off versus October, making November his worst month since August, the last month of his awful summer drop-off.

Several trends have emerged over the past 10 months of poling. I've discussed a number of them before, but I'll highlight them now:
(1) President Obama has yet to have a month with any significant month-on-month improvement. He has had months were he has held flat or gained marginally and months that he has lost ground, but none where he has posted a statistically significant gain. He has now reached a critical inflection point where if he does not have such a month, he will slip below his November margin and, within a few month, slip into negative territory.
(2) There seems to be something of a soft floor surrounding his November vote total. To me this indicates that those who did not vote for the President but were willing to give him a chance have largely been lost in the bitterly partisan tone in Washington but that those who voted for the President have by and large stuck with him.
(3) As has been noted by CNN, the President seems to drop in approval every time he goes abroad. Perhaps this is because of some of his visual gaffes (such as the bow/handshake) or because Americans feel he should be focused on the US economy, but it does seem to be a consistent theme. Perhaps he should spend a little more time at home until unemployment drops.

The GOP feels like they have momentum now and there is some evidence in these data to suggest that. But it would be over-playing their hand to assume that opposing the President is now a popular position. They won't win in 2012 with the voters they got in 2008, they need to find a way to dislodge the moderates who supported the President. Time will tell if they can do that, but they haven't succeeded, at least yet.

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