On August 25, President Obama had a +9.8% spread (approval vs. disapproval) according to a rolling average of various polls. Today, that number is only 8.6%. Two good pieces which explain why:
1. David Brooks (NY Times):
From the stimulus to health care, it has joined itself at the hip to the liberal leadership in Congress. The White House has failed to veto measures, like the pork-laden omnibus spending bill, that would have demonstrated independence and fiscal restraint. By force of circumstances and by design, the president has promoted one policy after another that increases spending and centralizes power in Washington….All presidents fall from their honeymoon highs, but in the history of polling, no newly elected American president has fallen this far this fast.
2. Steve Chapman (Chicago Tribune):
The reason John Kerry lost and Obama won…was not liberal voters…..while Kerry had a 9-point edge over his Republican opponent among moderates, Obama carried them by 21 points. Obama also did significantly better among conservatives than Kerry…….In 1998, 61 percent of Americans said they had confidence in the federal government’s ability to handle domestic problems. On the eve of the 2008 election, only 48 percent felt that way.
Even amid the worst recession in decades, most have not changed their minds. Today, more than half say the president’s policies go too far in expanding the federal government, and his popularity has declined as a result.