OBAMA AND THE INDEPENDENTS – AT 10:24 A.M. ET: One of the most overlooked political stories this year is the rapid deterioration in the support President Obama receives from independents. Unless he can reverse this, all his political efforts will fail because the numbers simply won't be there. From The Washington Times:
President Obama and congressional Democrats face an uphill climb to reclaim the support of independent voters who vaulted them to the White House and huge majorities in Congress in 2008.
At the end of the bitter, intensely partisan battle to pass Mr. Obama's health care overhaul plan, independent voters, once captivated by hopeful campaign promises, are feeling burned and appear eager to oust Democrats in November's midterm elections.
"There is an overall sense of frustration that no one is listening," pollster Scott Rasmussen said about a problem that has plagued the political party in power for decades.
Mr. Rasmussen said the more pressing issue for Democrats is that swing voters are not just anxious about health care; they're also angry about the stimulus package and auto industry bailouts.
"It is gathering steam in the sense that the longer the frustration goes unanswered, the more it grows," said the founder and president of Rasmussen Reports.
In 2008, Mr. Obama's hope and change messages seemed to win over independents, and he captured about 52 percent of the independent vote in the election that year.
Self-identified independents continued to back Mr. Obama through June, with about 60 percent saying they approved of his job performance. But as the year wore on and the health care battle gained steam, their approval of the president plummeted and hardened in the low 40s, according to Quinnipiac University polls.
COMMENT: One of the most intriguing aspects of the president's decline is that people seem to like him less as an individual, and to have less confidence in him than they once had. He had a magnetism (at least to some) during the campaign, but the aura has worn off. Auras don't come easily, and they're hard to put back.
Maybe the public expected too much. We were sold a god and we got a silver-tongued local pol. There's bound to be some buyer's remorse, but we still have to pay off the full four years of the contract. After that, we talk.
April 2, 2010