Barack Obama’s job approval rating has tumbled since shortly after his re-election, as the public’s economic expectations for the coming year have soured. Despite substantial public awareness of recent gains in the stock market and rebounding real-estate values, the percentage saying economic conditions will get worse over the next year has risen to its highest point in nearly eight years.
Obama’s job approval measure has fallen eight points since December, from 55% to 47%. His rating is comparable to George W. Bush’s (45%) at the same point early in his second term and is much lower than Bill Clinton’s 60% rating in February 1997.
Of late, however, the optics surrounding sequestration seem to have negatively impacted President Obama — with a new CNN poll showing his job approval rating dipping below 50 percent for the first time since September 2012.
And, there is more evidence that the national conversation has taken a turn for the worst for President Obama in the last two weeks. Using the “National Dialogue Monitor” (a tool that “tracks every time a celebrity, organization, issue or corporation is mentioned across all media channels — television, radio, newspapers, magazines, blogs, websites and social networks — measuring the associated volume, tone, and topics of each tracked entity”), the Republican consulting firm TargetPoint has built a chart that makes this very point. (Click on graphic for a bigger version.)
What the graphic shows is that “spending cuts” have been the dominant topic of discussion related to President Obama so far this month and that much of the sentiment around that conversation has been negative. Ditto “drones”, “taxes” and “Israel-Palestine”. The most talked-about issue where Obama is winning positive sentiment is, interestingly, the economy.