President Barck Obama is ending the fifth year of his presidency with one of the lowest approval ratings his has on record. The latest poll released on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 conducted by ABC News and the Washington Post. The poll marked the President's worst disapproval rating in that survey's polling record of his presidency. Additionally, Obama is losing another valued commodity; his poll advantages over the Republicans, the gaps closing bode badly for the President going into 2014 midterm election year. The poll looked at the ratings for Obama, Congress, Democrats and Republicans, the economy and the health care law, the Affordable Care Act's recent implementation.
According to the new ABC News / Washington Post poll President Obama's approval rating actually rebounded by one percentage point to 43 percent, whereas in November's edition of the poll the President experienced that poll's lowest approval rating at 42 percent. The worse news is in the disapproval rating with Obama clocking in with 55 percent of Americans disapproving of his job performance.
Congress does not fare well either in the ABC News poll, both the Republicans and Democrats do have much public confidence. Congress' approval rating as a whole is rebounding from their low of 12 percent up 4 points to a 16 percent approval rating; still they have an 81 percent disapproval rating. While Democrats received a 34 percent approval and 64 percent disapproval rating, they still did better than the Republicans who only have a 24 percent job approval and a whopping 73 percent disapproval rating. Still in comparison Obama is closing in on the gaps with Republicans especially regarding specific issues, where the Republicans are gaining the confidence of the American public.
Despite the economy improving the President receives low marks on handling the economy with 42 percent approving and 55 percent disapproving on par with his general approval rating. The Labor Department's November job's report revealed that 203,000 jobs were added and that the unemployment rate fell from 7.3 percent to 7 percent, a five year low. However, Americans agree with the jobs report that the economy is getting better 59 to 39 percent.
The public believes the GOP could handle the economy better than President Obama, 45 percent to 41 percent. And in what will hit the President the most, despite Obama's focus on the economic well being of the middle class, Americans actually think the Republicans could do a better job, giving them the advantage over the President 46 percent to 40 percent. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-WI and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-WA are receiving good marks from the public for their bipartisan budget bill, with 50 percent approving and only 35 percent disapproving.
In what will be the best news out of the poll for Republicans is Americans now give them equal footing with Obama regarding the nation's trust "to do a better job coping with the main problems the nation faces over the next few years," both getting a 41 percent share. Last year Obama had the advantage 50 to 35 percent.
The Republicans are also at the receiving end of fiscal trust, with 48 percent versus Obama's 40 percent when it comes to "finding the right balance between [cutting government spending that is not needed] and [continuing government spending that is needed]." In October, the results were in reverse with Obama at 47 and the GOP with 36 percent. Congressional Republicans and Democrats are in a tie for "better ideas about the right size and role of the federal government" with the GOP ahead by one point, 44 percent to 43 percent.
From the poll's conclusions the President did not escape blame for the government shutdown, despite his efforts to pin the shutdown on the Republicans in every speech, and every time he ever brought up the shutdown, the Republicans have recovered well from Obama's rhetorical beating.
However, President Obama's dwindling poll numbers are mostly because of the disaster health care law, the Affordable Care Act rollout in October. Both the insurance purchasing Marketplace website, HealthCare.gov was riddled with errors and did not properly work and millions of Americans were losing their coverage with the law's new minimum requirement. The website has since been mostly repaired since meeting the Nov. 30 White House imposed deadline and on Nov. 14 the President allowed insurance companies to reinstate the cancelled insurance policies or let Americans who lost their insurance buy similar ones through 2014.
It is only because the there have been improvements with the Marketplace's function, that the President's poll numbers have leveled off, and did not fall any further. The Marketplace's re-launch after repairs on Dec. 1 have helped the President regarding opinion and of the health care law. Only 34 percent approve of Obama's implementation of the health care law, with resounding 62 percent disapproving. In the battle between Obama and the GOP over who can handle health care better the President's advantage is slipping and the Republican Congress catching up, now Obama only has a slight 42 percent to 37 percent edge. Overall, there is less animosity towards the law, with 49 percent opposing the law and 46 approving it, down from the November high of 57 to 40 percent.
On the positive side, President Obama's trustworthy numbers are improving after the lows he experienced when millions of Americans received news that their insurance numbers were being cancelled by their insurance provider, because they did not meet the new healthcare's minimum requirements. With the ABC News / Washington Post Obama received a very passable 50 percent, still 48 percent have not forgiven him and do not find him trustworthy.
The backlash was prompted by the President's constant pledges through his presidency "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it," which was recently named by
PoliFact as the "biggest lie of the year." A November Quinnipiac University poll indicated that Americans are upset with the President not keeping his pledge. The poll found that 52 percent of Americans did not find Obama "honest and trustworthy" that was the first time a majority of Americans have felt this way, with only 44 percent who found him "honest and trustworthy."
Other recent polls have also given the President bad news, indicating that Obama's sinking approval rating was slowly reaching the 30 percentages and his disapproval rating reaching unprecedented heights in recent polls released last week. In the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Wednesday, Dec. 11, President Obama's new disapproval rating was at 54 percent, and approval rating at 43 percent; a 11 point gap the highest in this poll. However, those numbers were good in comparison to Quinnipiac University's poll released Tuesday, Dec. 10, which gave the President his highest disapproval rating and one of the lowest approval ratings at 57 percent to 38 percent, a 19 point difference.
With the Congressional Republicans gaining ground, especially with the all important economic issues, President Obama has a lot to be worried about going in the last midterm election cycle of his Presidency, especially since most second term president sees their party losing seats going into their last two years, especially when the President's approval rating is less than 50 percent. When asked if they would vote in the midterm elections for a Democratic or Republican candidate for the House of Representatives the results were close to even 47 percent to 45 percent with Democrats taking a tiny two percent lead.
The President needs both Houses of Congress to be in Democratic control in order to pass the remainder of the agenda, including a sweeping immigration reform bill. If the House stays in Republican hands, the same stand still on legislation and Obama's agenda will remain, and maybe be enforced by an election victory guaranteeing that President Obama will be a lame duck for the last two years of his Presidency. And with the new Senate rules on filibuster it would devastating for the President if the Republicans capture the Senate possibly paving the way for a repeal of his unpopular health care law, known as Obamacare.
A lot has changed for Obama in his fifth year in office the turnaround from last year after he won reelection is striking, then the President's poll numbers were in reverse with 54 approving and only 42 percent disapproving. In terms of end of fifth year ratings in the post-World War II modern presidential history, Obama's is one of the lowest, the majority still sat at the over 50 percent mark, George W. Bush's ratings were not even as bad with 47 percent approving. Only Richard Nixon's was lower at 29 percent, but he was in the midst of the Watergate scandal. It is debate if Obama will continue with the downward trajectory or be able stabilize and rebound. Regardless these are hardly the poll numbers President Obama would have wanted for a Christmas present this year.
- ABC News / Washington Post Poll, Dec. 17, 2013 -- Full Results, Charts and Tables