By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
Political associates of President Obama are dismissing the recent wave of stories about his dropping poll numbers, claiming that it is a press-driven effort to find a negative story about the White House. "The press is looking for a story on this one," says Cornell Belcher, the Democratic pollster who worked on the Obama presidential campaign. "The press is looking for a negative story," he added. Belcher said instead that when compared with other presidents, Obama's poll numbers are strong, despite recent drops in approval ratings for some of his policies and initiatives.
What's more, Belcher said the president is receiving deep support from minorities who are hurt most by the recession. "Part of what helps make it so Teflon—though which no one seems to really get—is how unbelievably strong his numbers continue to be among minorities, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. And the black and Hispanic numbers are particularly interesting because the fact of the matter is black and brown people are the ones who are disproportionately impacted in economic downturns and unemployment upticks," he says.
Belcher says another surprise is that as the economy continues to get worse, the president is maintaining support not seen in recent years for a president. "People are once again actually beginning to think the country is headed in the right direction, which is astonishing. And let's be clear, the economy sucks, yet the guy's job approval is still solid. When his approval numbers are below 50 percent, ... the country is moving again in the wrong direction, and Republican ... approval numbers actually move out of the 20s, I'll be worried," said Belcher.
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