Obama's Approval Rating Much Worse Than It Looks

Overwhelming approval among blacks is hiding cratering approval among whites.

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Proving once again that he is one of the nation’s most astute political analysts, the Washington Examiner's Michael Barone makes clear that President Barack Obama may be in more political trouble than he or many of his allies are prepared to publicly admit.

An alumnus of U.S. News & World Report, Barone deconstructs the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll and he shows that Obama’s negative 45 percent--48 percent job approval figures are deceptive and that the president is far weaker politically than the numbers suggest.

[See a slide show of the 10 keys to an Obama comeback.]

The poll, which admittedly is a snapshot of public opinion, shows the president has a 91 percent approval rating among black voters. “A little back of the envelope arithmetic,” Barone writes, “suggest that Obama’s job rating among the 88 percent or 89 percent of non-black respondents is about 39 percent positive and 54 percent negative.”

As he explains,

That’s pretty weak—a whole lot more negative than the numbers you usually see for all voters. This is hugely relevant to the 2010 elections. Most of the states with seriously contested Senate races or Democratic seats that seem almost certain to go Republican have below-national-average black percentages … Similarly, when you look at the list of target House seats very few have substantial black populations.

For the Republicans, it means they are much better positioned to make significant gains in the 2010 elections, something the recent NPR bi-partisan poll that only looked at 70 swing congressional districts also suggested.

[See a slide show of 11 hot races in November.]

These findings are also backed up by some intriguing anecdotal evidence, including the small number of Democrats who are starting to make clear that, while they would welcome a campaign visit by former President Bill Clinton they would be happier if Obama campaigned elsewhere.

There are, no doubt, some who will attack Barone’s analysis along the usual lines--but only because they don’t like what it projects. In any event that would be a case of attacking the messenger for the content of the message and would do little to demonstrate that his analysis runs wide of the mark.