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February 13, 2016

New Poll Numbers Reinforce Bush-Obama Comparisons

My last column, which argued President Barack Obama’s situation going into his second midterm closely resembled President George W. Bush’s standing going into his second midterm, is reinforced in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

When I filed the column on Monday, I used the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll results from June, since it was the most recent poll available at that time. It showed Obama’s job ratings at 41 percent approve/53 percent disapprove. The new survey, conducted July 30-August 3, showed Obama’s approval at 40 percent, with 54 percent disapproving of his performance.

Since Bush’s late July 2006 job ratings stood at 39 percent approve/56 percent disapprove, the new Obama numbers bear an even more uncomfortably close resemblance to Bush’s.

As I noted in the column, foreign policy has become a significant problem for the president — and therefore for his party — in the midterms.

The new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey found Obama’s job performance on foreign policy as a weak 36 percent approve/60 percent disapprove — by far his worst numbers in that area.

The generic ballot on the congressional elections remains generally unchanged. One party or the other has generally been up by a point or, at most, two, and this month it’s the GOP that has a 1-point advantage. But the sample is registered voters, which almost certainly understates the GOP’s advantage among likely voters in November.

While Congress — and Republicans in Congress — remain unpopular, the bad news for the president in the survey continues to raise the possibility the midterms will be more “about” President Obama than about anyone or anything else.

  • DrSquishy

    Big difference is that the economy is improving under Obama while under Bush the economy got worse.

    • E L Frederick

      Define Improving… we still haven’t had monthly job numbers higher than those entering the work force, we have the worst workforce participation numbers in over 30 years. Median income has fallen. We have growing costs in food and gas… which aren’t included in the inflation index.

      Improving? I think you don’t live in reality.

      • meanmarine

        Don’t forget that of that jobs number 48% are part time jobs. Our economy is improving slightly but it is not a robust economy be any stretch of the imagination.

    • KJ1959

      I believe the economy is largely out of the control of Presidents though they can make things worse or maybe improve for better. Bush unwisely decimated the surplus of the 1990’s and then was forced into a war on terror in which he spent billions outside of the budget. The overheated economy busted under his presidency as well. He started pumping billions in to stabilize an over the cliff to economic dooms day to avoid it.

      Then Obama inherits the monetary crises and the money spent on a two front overseas conflict was added back into the budget. He then pumps more money into the system to keep us from going into fiscal Armageddon. It did prevent us from financial hell, but the economy is in a seeming perpetual malaise. The higher income brackets are the only category that shows an increase in wealth. The middle income and poor classes have depressed or stagnant wages along with a reluctant hiring by companies. The jobs have mainly been in the service sector, which are usually part time. The Stock market isn’t showing reality on the ground and is just making the rich richer with no benefits for the middle and poor class.

      Not sure anyone is in control of the economy and we can only hope the leaders don’t screw it up more than it already is.

    • TxPharm

      Bush inherited the Dot bomb and 9/11.
      This is the slowest recovery from recession since WWII because of Obama’s policies, especially shocking everyone when he ignored his own bipartisan deficit commission.

  • frantterdaw

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  • YoureClueless

    Another swing, another miss for Rothenberg. Check Question #13 in the poll you’re invoking. I’ll save you the trouble: more respondents are voting to send a message that we need more Democrats in Congress to help Obama than are respondents who are voting for Republicans to “put a check” on Obama. The overwhelming sentiment is that Congress needs new faces. Obama is not in Bush’s situation going into 2006. NONE of the available data suggests that. This is just more horse-race trash to get clicks.

    • TxPharm

      Get back to us after mid terms, because actually quite a lot of data and pundits predict GOP will reclaim senate, send Harry packing and present Obama with a 50,000 hole gift card to Lame Duck Golf Course.
      Few trust Obama after all the lies he told to pass Obamacare.
      ISIS and Putin just add zero confidence on foreign policy to the mix.

  • Ben Rodriguez

    New poll numbers show people see Republicans as less favorable.

  • WillielomanIII

    Considering the visceral hate that Rothenberg has for Bush, this must have been a difficult column to write. Bush was not great, but compared this guy and is policies of supporting Hamas genocide of the Jews, supporting the ultra rich 1% with government money and privileges, and considering Obama’s complete disdain for the poor, Bush looks much better

  • Lizard

    Wonder if they take polls down at DSHS .. Every one i talk to can not stand Muslim

  • GetAClueOr2

    To put this into real perspective, look at it with your reality glasses on. Obama’s numbers have been dropping even while the press, Hollywood and “pop culture” having a slobbering love affair with him since he first bounded on the scene with a basket full of platitudes. Quite the opposite for Bush that had the hatred of the press, Hollywood and all of pop culture since he came on the scene with the “uniter not divider” line. If you take into account the differences in the daily presentations of each man by all media, people have to buck the trend to dislike Obama and like Bush. That means despite the best efforts of everybody, the majority still think Obama sucks. There you have it, reality. Obama is far more disliked than Bush because we were propagandized to hate Bush and love Obama and their polling numbers are a coin toss.

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