Recent polls are giving President Barack Obama a stream of bad news, now a new Fox News poll released on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 finds that Americans consider Obama less competent than his recent predecessors. The new Fox News poll not only looked at the president's competence, but also overall approval ratings and job performance in foreign policy and domestic policy particularly the economy and health care.
According to the Fox News poll, respondents find Obama less competent that former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. What makes the poll's results more interesting is that for once there is a bipartisan consensus; both Democrats and Republicans are in agreement on Obama's incompetence. The 38 percent of the poll's respondents were Democrats, 36 percent were Republicans while 22 percents were independents and unaffiliated to a party.
An overwhelming 68 percent find Obama less competent than fellow Democrat Clinton. That includes 53 percent of Democrats who find Obama less competent than Clinton as opposed to 29 percent who find Obama more competent. Although a small majority of Democrats feel that way it would not be a Fox News poll without an overwhelming number of Republicans opposing Obama. The poll concluded that 84 percent of Republicans find Obama less competent than Clinton. Independents also are siding with Republicans, with 69 percent finding Obama less competent.
The number is far less when it comes to comparing Obama to his Republican predecessor Bush. Still voters consider Bush the more competent at 48 percent, to 42 percent, although seven percent of respondents give them the same competency level. When up against Bush on competency, there was more of ideological and party divide, with Democrats siding more with Obama over Bush.
The poll's results demonstrated that if forced to choose between Obama and Bush 67 percent of Democrats find Obama more competent. Republicans overwhelmingly chose Bush at 81 percent as more competent. While 47 percent of independents found Bush more competent, only 34 percent find Obama the competent president, while 14 percent think that they have the same competencies.
Part in parcel with a yearning for president gone by, a majority at 55 percent say Obama has "made the country weaker," while 35 percent think he has made the country "stronger." While President Obama's favorability is also not doing well, but still stable with 45 percent viewing him favorably, with a majority of 52 percent having an unfavorable view of the once personally popular president.
Obama does not fare well just looking at his own performance. The poll finds that Obama's overall approval rating is only 40 percent up from his low of 38 percent in March, put down from the 44 percent he had last month. At the same time a comfortable majority of 53 percent disapprove of Obama's performance. Democrats are still sticking by the president, with 75 percent approving of him, while Republicans overwhelmingly disapprove of his performance with 87 percent. While Independents are not longer captivated by the president with 61 percent disapproving and a measly 29 percent approve of his job performance.
The president's domestic and foreign policy does not have much approval either. Although Obama has emphasized the economy for the first five months of 2014 through his economic opportunity program, and signing over 20 executive actions he still has 58 percent disapproval with only 39 approving. The same percent approve and disapprove of how Obama is handling health care, the Affordable Care Act, despite the president claiming the law a success after over 8 million Americans signed up for insurance at the federal Marketplace, over a million more than was originally projected.
There is almost the same amount of discontent for Obama's foreign policy performance. The president has decided to refocus his attention on foreign policy; he delivered a major address outlining his plans for the remainder on his term on Wednesday, May 28 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point commencement. His handling of a wide range of foreign issues however, including Russia and the Ukraine crisis, Syria's civil war, the failed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and the Benghazi, Libya terror attacks aftermath are taking a toll on American's opinion of Obama's aptitude on foreign affairs. According to the Fox News poll 56 percent disapprove of his job performance with only 36 percent approving.
There is only one positive in the entire poll, Americans are in favor the new plan Obama unveiled on Tuesday, May 27 to withdraw the remaining troops in Afghanistan. Americans however, overwhelmingly approve with 55 percent support of the president's plan to withdraw the majority of troops still in Afghanistan to 9,800 at the end of 2014, before withdrawing the remainder in 2016, only 39 percent disapprove of his plan to finally end the country's then 15-year entanglement in Afghanistan.
Earlier in the week on Tuesday, June 3, 2014, ABC News / Washington Post issued a poll showing similar discontent with Obama's foreign policy performance and handling of domestic policy particularly the economy and health care. Both polls also agreed that in general the president's approval rating is rebounding from the all time lows of this past winter.
Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. She covers US, Canadian & Israeli politics, with a particular focus on the Obama presidency, Congress, domestic policy, and elections.