Things keep getting worse. Not just for the country, which has endured unrelenting cycles of bad news for a decade now, but for President Obama, whose entire presidency has been defined by negative forces, most of which are beyond his control. A look at the new polls that greet Obama Tuesday morning, and this is the only conclusion to draw.
Here are the lowlights for the President’s White House team, who are putting the finishing touches on a Thursday speech they hope will begin to turn to tide:
–Just 17% of the American people think Obama’s economic program is making the economy better, down from 27% in February, and 35% in January, according to the Washington Post-ABC News Poll. Forty-seven percent say no effect and 34% say worse. This is not just an indictment of the current economic environment, which is souring again, but a clear indication that Obama has so far failed in his primary political messaging goal of the year, to convince the American people that he has a plan to “win the future.”
–Seventy-three percent of Americans feel the country is heading in the wrong track, a record high since Obama assumed office, according to the NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll. The last time this number peaked, in October of 2008 at 78%, the global financial collapse was happening in real time.
–Obama’s job performance also achieves a new record in national disapproval, at 51%, up from 41% in January of 2011, and 44% in January of 2010, according to NBC-WSJ. The same can be said about his disapproval for handling the economy, which tops a new record at 59%, up from 50% in January of 2011 and 49% in January of 2010.
–The generic ballot, though not predictive at the moment, is also bad for Obama. Just 40% of respondents think they will “probably vote” to reelect Obama, while 44% think they will probably vote for the Republican candidate. This is the first time in the NBC-WSJ poll that Obama loses in a generic head-to-head match up. At the same time, Americans say, by a margin of 47% to 44%, that they would like to see Republicans maintain control of Congress next year.
–Just 42% of Americans give Obama a positive “strong leader” rating, down from 54% in May, and 70% when Obama assumed office in January of 2009, according to NBC-WSJ.
–Just 45% of Americans say that they are “extremely confident” or “quite confident” that Obama has the right set of personal characteristics to be President, down from 51% in January of 2010 and 59% in January of 2009, according to NBC-WSJ.
One could go on, but the grim news begins to become a bit repetitive. (Go to RealClearPolitics’ handy polling page for links to the full polling results.) All of it paints a dark picture, not just for the White House. Obama took office of a keeps-getting-worse nation, at a keeps-getting-worse time, after seven years of the same. And three years later, he still runs a keeps-getting-worse nation at a keeps-getting-worse time. He has somewhere between six and ten months to turn the mood, before voters begin to make up their minds.