In the face of steadily declining poll numbers (50% disapprove of the job Obama is doing, including 54% of independents), Barack Obama unveiled new proposals in the past week to tackle stubbornly high unemployment and our nation’s ever increasing debt. If the president’s proposals sound like they belong on a Best of Obama album (or Worst of Obama, depending on whether or not you are currently employed), you wouldn’t be far off. Both the jobs proposal and the deficit reduction plan are a rehashing of previous failed ideas.
At this point you can hardly blame the president for going back to the liberal play book. According to a recently released CBS News/New York Times Poll Obama is failing to deliver on the economy (which 59% rate as their most important issue. Consider:
- Fifty-seven percent (57%) disapprove of how Obama is handling the economy and 54% disapprove of how he is handling job creation.
- Sixty-eight percent (68%) believe that Obama has made no progress on fixing the economy, up from 60% a year ago.
- Forty-three percent (43%) believe the economy is getting worse as compared to only 12% that think it is getting better.
With the public having soured on his economic performance, Obama has elected to try a second stimulus (after the failure of the first one) and returned to his rhetoric of class warfare with a tax increase on the rich. While individual elements of his plan have support in public polling, a plurality is not confident that Obama’s proposal will create jobs (47% not very/not at all confident the plan will create jobs).
Confidence is the biggest challenge Obama faces right now. Americans are coming to the conclusion that President Obama is the strong leader we need. According to a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, Obama has seen significant erosion in American’s rating of his leadership characteristics:
- Fifty-two percent (52%) say that Obama is not a strong and decisive leader, while 48% say this characteristic applies to him. When the same question was asked in May of 2011, 57% said he was a strong leader and 42% said he was not, a swing of 19 points in 4 months.
- Fifty-seven percent (57%) say that Obama cannot manage the government effectively. This is up from 47% in May.
Obama is clearly worried about keeping his job and with his polling numbers who would blame him. But his jobs bill and his deficit reduction plan are nothing more than a transparent attempt to drive the political debate rather than serious effort to drive down the unemployment rate. Ultimately, Obama’s re-election is going to hinge on what he has done on the economy and convincing the voters that he is capable of leading our economy back to prosperity (see our article about unemployment and presidential re-election). While rhetoric may have gotten him elected in 2008, his results in office will determine whether he gets another term. And from the looks of his recent proposals, he is not serious about leading on the economy.