March Economic Polls Bode Ill For Democrats

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Mediocre ratings in the third month of a midterm year sunk Republicans in 1986 and again in 2006.

Public support for President Obama is tanking on multiple fronts, dragging down his party.

Foreign policy was a relative strength for much of Mr. Obama’s first term. No more. According to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Mr. Obama’s disapproval rating on handling foreign affairs is 53%, the highest of his presidency. That number is likely to have grown since the poll was conducted 11 days ago—before Vladimir Putin’s very public humiliation of Mr. Obama’s weak reaction to his takeover of Crimea.

No modern American president has been exposed as this feckless and impotent, except for perhaps Jimmy Carter. Mr. Obama will discover that as his image as a strong leader crumbles, it’s nearly impossible to reconstruct. That will mean bad things for his party. Once a president is seen as weak in foreign affairs, it colors perceptions of his leadership at home.

Not that the news at home is good. In a March 9 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Mr. Obama had a 41% approval rating, 56% disapproval rating for his handling of the economy. His approval number is lower than all but eight of the 47 soundings this poll has taken since Mr. Obama’s first inaugural—and his disapproval rating is worse than all but seven others since January 2009.

For context, consider that when Ronald Reagan was president in March 1986, 44% of Americans rated the economy “excellent” or “good” while 16% called it “poor,” according to a Money Magazine survey conducted by ABC News. Just over seven months later, Republicans lost eight Senate seats and five House seats in the midterms.

In March 2006, when George W. Bush was president, 41% rated the economy “excellent” or “good” while 24% called it “poor” in an ABC News/Washington Post poll. Yet in that year’s midterms, Republicans lost six Senate seats and 30 House seats.

The situation facing Democrats is more ominous. The March 2 ABC News/Washington Post survey reported a mere 28% rated the economy “excellent” or “good” while 28% called it “poor.” Unless the Obama economy dramatically improves, it will be politically toxic for Democrats.

Democrats no longer have health care as a strength. The dreadful rollout of ObamaCare left the president with a 36% approval rating and a 59% disapproval rating for his handling of health care in a March 6 Fox News poll.

Americans will hire a party to run things when its ideas are fresh and new and fire it when they believe it’s run out of ideas and has an agenda they don’t like. The latter is where Democrats find themselves today.

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