November 19, 2013
By John Zogby
It has been a few bad weeks – largely self-inflicted – for President Barack Obama and the nation. There is no need to detail the messy rollout of his signature Affordable Care Act compounded by his being caught in an untruth over who could keep their current health care coverage. Fellow Democrats are bailing, especially those who face tough re-election contests in 2014, and Republicans are gloating, actually showing teeth they are so gleeful.
A new Zogby Analytics poll of 888 likely voters nationwide conducted on November 14 shows Mr. Obama’s approval 3 points down from his numbers in the October Zogby poll. He stands at 43% approval and 54% disapproval. In mid-October it was 46% approval, 51% disapproval. Not a huge decline but a tectonic one because it moves him – at least cosmetically – from the mid-forties to the low-forties.
What is most revealing is among whom his numbers are declining. He is down 3 points among both men (45% from 48%) and women (42% from 45%). He has lost 4 points among Democrats (80% from 84%) and 3 points among independents (30% from 33%). He has seen his support reduced among liberals (75% from 79%), moderates (51% from 54%), and conservatives (14% from 17%). The youngest voters held study at 51%, he lost 2 points among both 30-49 year olds and 50-64 year olds – but he has lost a dramatic 10 points among voters 65 and older (28% from 38%).
Hispanics are less approving than they were (71% from 75%), as are African Americans (81% from 87%). Investors have held steady (52% from 53%), but there is a decline among Weekly Wal-Mart Shoppers (42% from 47%) and the Creative Class (50% from 56%).
Only 18% of 18-29 year olds say the U.S. is heading in the right direction, and 43% of this group (the highest of any age cohort) feel they will be better off in the next four years. But hope springs eternal when you are young.
On the surface the President seems to have squandered his majority victory, however, he is beset by fellow Democrats who care more about re-election than helping Mr. Obama’s plans to expand health coverage. He is also severely hampered by Republicans who not only refuse to compromise but also want to thrive on mocking and gloating over mistakes and missteps, let alone the President’s hyperbole over Americans getting to keep their current health plans.
I strongly suspect that if this atmosphere continues, fostered by cowardly Democrats and supercilious Republicans, that many incumbents may be in trouble in 2014 – with a true spirit of public bipartisanship rejection as their reward. For now, what we do know is that 106,185 people have selected plans from the marketplace, 975,407 others have made it through the process by applying and receiving an eligibility determination, but have not yet selected a plan, and an additional 396,261 have been deemed eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Like so many other observers, I will be looking closely at the Affordable Care Act website to see if the glitches have been cleaned up and also watching to see if Congress can put aside its cowardice and mockery to fix this law. Cowardice and silliness are nowhere to be found among Congress’ duties in the Constitution – only legislation and public policy.