While President Barack Obama asserted Oct. 17 that "the American people are fed up with Washington," a new NBC News-Wall Street Journal (WSJ) poll -- released Thursday -- shows that Americans are becoming increasingly fed up with him.
As NBC News reported Thursday, “President Barack Obama’s approval rating has declined to an all-time low as public frustration with Washington and pessimism about the nation’s direction continue to grow.”
The NBC/WSJ pollsters argue that no single reason explains Obama’s lower poll standing. Rather, they attribute it to the accumulation of setbacks since the summer -- allegations of spying by the National Security Agency, the debate over Syria’s chemical weapons, the government shutdown and now intense scrutiny over the problems associated with the health care law’s federal website and its overall implementation.
While 42 percent approve of Obama's job performance as president – 51 percent say they disapprove.
That's an approval decline of five percentage points since the Oct. 7-9 survey -- just three weeks ago -- and an all-time disapproval high since NBC/WSJ began tracking Obama’s numbers as president.
The most notable revelation is that “for the first time in the survey, even Obama’s personal ratings are upside-down, with 41 percent viewing him a favorable light and 45 percent viewing him negatively."
When asked of their “opinion” of Obama’s healthcare law, 38 percent said it “needs minor modifications to improve it.” But 28 percent said it “needs a major overhaul and an additional 24 percent said it “should be totally eliminated.” Only six percent said it “is working well the way it is.”
While 37 percent said they see Obamacare as “a good idea,” 47 percent see it as “a bad idea.”
The survey conducted three weeks ago showed 38 percent saying it’s “a good idea” and 43 percent saying it’s “a bad idea.”
Asked how what they “have seen, read, or heard over the last few weeks” makes them feel “about the new health care law,” 40 percent said they are “less confident.” Only 9 percent are more confident. The majority -- 50 percent -- said their opinion hasn’t changed.
According to Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart -- who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff -- “the sign-up problems have hurt the president personally rather than hurt the law.”
“Personally and politically,” Hart concluded of Obama’s overall numbers, “the public’s assessment is two thumbs down.”
Despite the Oct. 22 assertion by Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas of The Washington Post that "two new polls released on Obamacare” contained "good news for the law,” Examiner reported that same day that neither "really" contained "good news for Obamacare,’ or for Obama."
In an article titled, “Where the Buck Stops, Some See a Bystander,” Peter Baker reported for The New York Times Tuesday that “President Obama finds himself under fire on two disparate fronts these days, both for the botched rollout of his signature health care program and for the secret spying on allied heads of state.
In both instances, his explanation roughly boils down to this: I didn’t know.
In a post titled, “The Bystander President” the GOP noted Monday that -- from the news that Solyndra -- the clean-energy company that received government funding – had gone belly up to revelations that the IRS was targeting conservatives and the Department of Justice was spying on reporters -- the recurring response from the Obama administration has been that the president didn’t know anything until he read about it “in the news.”
“For a smart man,” Dana Milbank wrote for The Spokesman Review Thursday, “President Barack Obama professes to know very little about a great number of things going on in his administration.”
Adding to the GOP’s list of things Obama didn’t know, Milbank noted that Obama also knew “nothing about an FBI investigation of an affair involving David Petraeus that led him to resign as CIA director,” he plead ignorance about the botched gun-running operation called Fast and Furious and claimed to have no awareness of the repeated requests for additional diplomatic security in Libya in the days before a United States ambassador and three other Americans were killed in Benghazi.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta on Oct. 22 that Obama didn’t know about the problems until days after the website went live Oct. 1.
But CNN reported Wednesday that “a confidential report” obtained by CNN proves “the Obama administration was given stark warnings just one month before launch that the federal healthcare site was not ready to go live.”
As Examiner outlined Oct. 25 -- while the “expanding Obamacare cover-up” involves many and presents “so many questions” – the American people have been provided with “so few” honest answers.
This lapse in honesty is especially egregious, coming from a president “that has committed to making his administration the most open and transparent in history” and claimed to “have put in place the toughest ethics laws and toughest transparency rules of any administration in history – in history.”
Back in June, Charles Krauthammer asserted to Fox News’ “The Factor” host Bill O’Reilly that Obama seems so detached from his job that he almost looks like a “bystander to his own presidency,” saying that whenever a new administration scandal erupts, like the NSA, IRS and Benghazi debacles, Obama always “acts as if he’s just stumbled on the scene of an accident, and he’s just catching up.”
Krauthammer reiterated that opinion to O’Reilly on Tuesday.
Milbank first defined Obama as a “presidential bystander” in The Washington Post back on April 30.
Paul Roderick Gregory echoed the assessment for Forbes that the press was letting Obama off the hook for being a “bystander president” on May 15.
Asked by CNN’s AC 360 host Anderson Cooper during Wednesday’s panel discussion if Obama was a “bystander president,” David Gergen said that Obama “doesn’t have a management style that lends itself to vigorous governing.”
“He is much, much better at campaigning,” Gergen explained, addressing the “awe” Obama inspired during his two “very well run” presidential campaigns, “and yet, he doesn’t run the government well.”
While the decline in Obama’s job approval rating in the minds of Americans may be attributed to the growing list of things he didn’t know as president, his fall from grace as a man may have something to do with what Americans have discovered he did know – and has intentionally hid from them for three years.
“So let me begin by saying this to you and to the American people,” Obama told physicians of the American Medical Association in Chicago on June 15, 2009.
“I know that there are millions of Americans who are content with their health care coverage," he said. "They like their plan and, most importantly, they value their relationship with their doctor. They trust you.”
And that means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. (Applause.) If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period.
Obama made the same assurances during his Sept. 9, 2009 speech before a joint session of Congress.
He reiterated the assurances during his healthcare reform speech at a rally in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sept. 12, 2009, during his Jan. 27, 2010 State of the Union Address, during his speech on March 19, 2010 at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., during his April 1, 2010 speech at the Portland Expo in Maine, the Oct. 3, 2012 presidential debate and again during his Sept. 26 speech at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland.
However, as Avik Roy reported for Forbes Thursday, “we now know that the administration knew” from the very beginning that “Obamacare would disrupt private plans.”
Despite Obama’s additional repeated promise -- that Obamacare would “preserve the right of Americans who have insurance to keep their doctor” -- The Weekly Standard reported July 19 that HHS downgraded Obama’s promise that you “will be able to keep your doctor, period,” to “you may be able to keep your current doctor" – “depending on the plan you choose in the Marketplace.”
Against Obama’s repeated vows that Obamacare “would reduce costs and premiums for millions of families and businesses” -- The Washington Post reported Tuesday that “hundreds of thousands of Americans” are receiving cancellation notices, and Krauthammer noted for The Washington Post Thursday that “most of the 19 million people with individual insurance will have to find new and likely more expensive coverage. And that doesn’t even include the additional millions who are sure to lose their employer-provided coverage.
That’s a lot of people. That’s a pretty big lie.
As CBS News reported Thursday, documents surrendered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in response to a request by the House Oversight Committee show that only "six enrollments” occurred on the Oct. 1 roll-out date.
By Wednesday afternoon, enrollments were up to "approximately 100." By the end of Wednesday, the notes reflect "248 enrollments" nationwide.
The health care exchanges need to average 39,000 enrollees a day In order to meet the goal of seven million by March 1.
“So a law designed to cover the uninsured is now throwing far more people off their insurance than it can possibly be signing up on the nonfunctioning insurance exchanges,” Krauthammer wrote further Thursday.
But perhaps Obama didn’t know. Maybe the bystander president was as surprised by this as he claims to have been by the IRS scandal, the Associated Press and James Rosen phone logs, the failure of the Obamacare Web site, the premeditation of the Benghazi attacks, the tapping of Angela Merkel’s phone — i.e., the workings of the federal government of which he is the nominal head.
To dismiss accusations that Obama intentionally mislead Americans with his repeated promises that they can keep their health insurance plans if they liked them, Carney told reporters at Tuesday’s press briefing that the president wasn’t referring to Americans who purchased policies on their own through the “individual insurance market” but rather to Americans who have employer-based insurance policies.
But as Roy noted further Thursday, “an obscure report buried in a June 2010 edition of the Federal Register” proves that the Obama administration itself “projected that ‘40 to 67 percent’ of individually-purchased insurance plans” would be canceled.
While it is not initially obvious, the new NBC/WSJ survey revealed even worse news for Obama.
To further punctuate just how much damage Obama has done to himself “personally and politically” – when you add the percentages of “strong,” “not very strong” and “independent/lean” for the 800 respondents who identified themselves as Democrats or Republicans -- the survey oversampled Democrats by a notable margin of nine percent.