President Obama’s Job Approval Rate ~ Why It’s So Low

Much of the president’s credibility problem, I believe, is based on the fact that he is African-American with a funny-sounding name.

October 6, 2010  —  According to the Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking poll for Tuesday the 5th of October, President Obama’s job approval rating shows that 30% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that he is doing his job. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -11 (see trends). His index rating has been steadily declining since his inauguration. But why?

No, he hasn’t delivered all the change that he campaigned on. But, hey… he’s not yet half-way through his first term. Check-out’s ObamaMeter. He has tried to work with the minority party in Congress, which was one of his promises to the American people. But Republicans have been united in opposition to everything from health care reform, to stimulus spending, to consumer finance protection, to financial oversight, to tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans, tax incentives for small businesses, and yes, cap-and-trade. Notwithstanding, he has accomplished a great deal and his expansionary economic policies have stopped the recession and started the economy growing again.

Yes, the recovery has been slow and largely a jobless one so far. But this has been because corporations are sitting on their wallets, slow to take advantage of the lowest interest rates for anything much other than buying back shares of corporate stock, which has the effect of driving up share prices. This is why the Dow and the S&P 500 are recovering faster than productivity. The same thing happened in Japan during the 1990s, which makes me wonder why the Fed hasn’t figured this out yet… Low interest rates will not, by themselves, stimulate job growth. Only demand for American-made products and services can do this. See my earlier posting, The Conservative Economist vs. the Liberal Economist.

The unemployment rate is still higher than anyone thought it would be by now. But the Rasmussen Employment

Confidence Index is higher now than it has been for two years, and there are plenty of other positive trends indicating that things are moving in the right direction. But the Republican propaganda machine has been very, very effective at spreading misinfor- mation, misinformation that fosters and foments hate and fear — this despite a plethora of facts that are readily available on-line, in periodicals, and on all the news networks (except Fox) that discredit the smear campaigns.

Americans’ opinions on the economy are improving too. According to a recent CBS News/ New York Times poll,

Americans are more optimistic about the future of the economy than they were last month. Forty-one percent of Americans now say the economy is improving, up eight points from April and more than at any time during this recession. Just 15 percent think the economy is getting worse, according to the poll. Even so, all the president got was a slight bump in his approval rating back in May.

I attribute the apparent dichotomy between the president’s approval rating and what’s really going on with the economy to ignorance, bigotry and gullibility. Much of the president’s credibility problem, I believe, is based on the fact that he is African-American with a funny-sounding name. These reasons, plus having had a father who was from Kenya has made him the target of an e-mail smear campaign. I get them and you probably do too if you spend any time corresponding with friends and family by e-mail and any of these people are associated in any way with the Tea Party, the religious right, or one of the many white supremacist groups in America, including a large number of resurging extremist militia groups. has responded to many many inquiries about chain e-mails (what I have called viral disinformation) and has concluded that the vast majority of them are categorically false or, at the very most, distorted half-truths. Should you get a chain e-mail forwarded to you and you wonder about its validity, go to You’ll probably find it or a version of it listed there with a link to full expose.

Please feel free to post a comment in response to this post, whether you agree or not.

Published in: on October 6, 2010 at 8:23 am  Comments (3)  

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  1. Opa, thanks for your postings. I must say that you are much better than the so-called news people. They (the news media) spout half truths and innuendos which has turned me off from watching national news, especially CNN.
    I agree that the economy is improving–only slightly–but improving. If I remember correctly, this is what the President stated when he took office. However, regardless of the economy growth, many people and I do mean many, look at the color of Pres. Obama’s skin and then the deep-rooted hatred rises to the top. It is really a pity that our country has not gotten beyond this fact. But then, it is so wonderful to know that we do not control anything. We have a loving Father on the throne and it is so good to know that He is there forever (probably looking at us and shaking His head).
    Keep up the good work Opa and keep us informed.

  2. Opa,

    For starters, Obama promised transparency, which has yet to materialize (bills on the internet for 3 days before a vote, no more business as usual in Washington – its still like that and he has done little that I can see to change that) his constant blaming of Bush for all the ills of the country (the democrats have controlled Congress since 2007 – when is Obama going to finally accept some responsibility for things he’s implemented that aren’t working?), etc. Another thing that might be affecting his ratings is the fact that the public associates him with the Democratically controlled Congress, which just recently left town without addressing the so-called Bush tax cuts. Businesses are not eager to jump out and do things when they have no idea what Congress is going to do to them tax-wise. I put no credence in anyone who dislikes him for his race. The fact that he is bi-racial means nothing to me – its his politics and policies that I disagree with. His response to Joe the Plumber about redistributing the wealth exposed him for what he is, and the fact that he continues to rail against the wealthy and wanting to tax them at high rates is further evidence of where he’s coming from. A lot of folks also have long enough memories to not forget Jeremiah Wright (who Obama could no more forsake – but eventually did for political reasons – than his own white grandmother [or mother – can’t remember which], Bill Ayers (sp?), Tony Rezco, ad infinitum. So, there’s a long list of things that people consider when evaluating Obama’s performance, character, etc. Evidently these things are reflected in the opinion polls as to his popularity, performance approvals, etc. Yes, he’s only been in office for not quite two years, but what he’s “accomplished” in that time has torqued people off – health care reform, stimulus plans that aren’t working as advertised, jobless rates where they’re at, etc. etc. Granted, he’s only one man, but he does have the power of the veto. If Republicans take control of the House, or Senate, or both, you can bet your bippy that he will veto anything the Congress puts forward, if for no other reason than paybacks for the Republicans not drinking his flavor of Kool Aid in the legislative arena. We’re all in for a rough time, at least until Nov., 2012. Who knows how much worse it will get after that.

  3. I hear this transparency issue about Obama a lot from my conservative friends, Curtis. It’s a major talking point at Tea Party rallies stirring up the not-so-loyal opposition and fomenting anger. Smart… anger is a strong motivator in elections. Obama promised this. Obama promised that and he has failed to deliver. He lied!

    I decided to do a little research this morning on the issue of Obama’s promises with respect to transparency. has ranked thirty-six transparency promises for their ObamaMeter. According to the various journalism analysts contributing, Obama has kept only five (5) of these promises. He is still working on seventeen (17) of them, has compromised on three (3) is stalled on delivery of six (6), and has flat broken five (5) of them.

    Assuming all of these promises are equal, which they aren’t, and weighting the results of each with a one (1) for promises kept, .075 for promises still in the works, zero (0) for compromises, -.075 for those that are stalled, and -1 for broken promises, I mathematically come up with a promise factor of a positive 22.9 out of a perfect performance number of 36. Not so bad, eh? But, like I said, all promises aren’t equal, especially in the perception of the not-so-loyal opposition. The big promises broken are: his pledge to end no-bid contracts; allowing five days for public comment before signing bills into law, and negotiating healthcare reform in public sessions. These are the transparency promises that detractors zero in on.

    After reading what has to say on these major transparency promise failures, I’ve concluded that it’s not entirely fair to blame the president for not delivering. As Candidate Obama, the president was filled with optimism delivering his Change You Can Believe In message. In this I believe that he was sincere but naive. Washington culture is too-well entrenched for change overnight. In things that I’ve read recently, his senior advisor, David Axelrod, warned him about this. And lo and behold – he hit the Republican brick wall. The reality, the president has found out, is that you can promise to bring about bi-partisan progress, but since the other side wants to regain power, their tactic will be to prevent any progress. So, not cooperation.

    Remember what Rush Limbaugh famously said on his radio show? “I hope Obama fails!” So it has worked to the GOP’s advantage that Obama had to resort to the tried-and-true tactics in Washington to get HealthCare done.

    Contrary to what a little more than half the population thinks, the stimulus spending and tax refunds (expansionary fiscal policies) have been working, Curtis. It’s hard to prove for some, especially those who are still unemployed or underemployed. But the economy is growing again and the deficit spending has not… repeat, has not… made things worse. The only way it could is if it had caused inflation and there is still negative inflation. Prices are falling on almost everything.

    Yeah… I was appalled too with the gutless Blue Dog Democrats who left Washington worried more about getting reelected than passing the needed extension of tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans. But Republicans have their constituents convinced that the rich being even richer will make everything better.
    Yes, Curtis, I believe that you don’t dislike Obama because of his mixed race or funny-sounding name. Most Americans and even most Tea Party Republicans have no problem with the president on these counts. But some do. You cannot deny that… can you? And that small minority is talking very loud and very ugly.

    Uncertainty is part of what’s holding corporations back from investing in production capacity. But why should they put Americans back to work in the absence of consumer confidence? Why should they start making stuff while the masses, the middle class, are still holding back on spending? And why should they want to employ Americans to make stuff while it’s still more profitable to let the Chinese do it?

    Obama’s comment about our needing to “spread the wealth around” was based on sound economic principle, Curtis. It is spending that drives the economy, not saving. And the less well-to-do spend much more of their incomes than do the rich.

    Conservatives don’t like the idea of taking from the rich to give to the poor because it sounds so unfair. But what’s really been unfair for so many years is that the wealthy have accumulated so much wealth by exploiting their economic and political power.

    Finally, about the president constantly reminding us that he did not cause the recession, his predecessor did. I know you and your kin are tired of hearing it, but it’s true, at least in part. The whole truth is more complicated. But don’t think for a minute that Obama doesn’t own the problem now. He does and he knows he does. Fixing the problem, however, isn’t something that can be done overnight or even in two years. The hole we’ve dug for ourselves is so deep that it’ll realistically take a generation or two of hard work and sound policy decisions at all levels of government to put things right. Corporations and private interests acting on their own initiative aren’t going to do it. They don’t care about the big picture. They care only about profit and their golden parachutes.

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