Democrats got another bit of disappointing news when an Associated Press poll released on Wednesday showed President Obama receiving his lowest marks to date on his handling of the economy.
Whether or not the negative views of the president will translate to negative views of the Democratic Party as a whole are yet to be known. There are 11 weeks until the November elections take place, but chances are pretty good they will.
The poll showed 41 percent approve of the president’s handling of the economy while 56 disapprove, down from 44 percent approval in April – overall the president’s approval rating is 49 percent. To make matters worse for the president, 61 percent say the economy has gotten worse or stayed the same under Obama.
In California the president fares much better. According to a Rasmussen poll, in early August President Obama had an overall approval rating of 56 percent and a disapproval rating of 41 percent. In 2008, Obama won San Bernardino County 52 percent to Sen. John McCain’s 46 percent.
With the economy front and center for these elections, and with the unemployment rate still at 9.5 percent, Democrats have reasons to worry about their chances especially now that the president is viewed more negatively than favorably. The only good news is 37 percent of those polled approve of Democrats in Congress while only 30 percent approve of the Republicans.
There is not much time between now and the elections for the economy to drastically improve and help the Democrats’ chances of keeping their majorities in Congress. If these dismal numbers continue to hold or decline further the Democratic Party is in a world of trouble.
Despite everything the Democrats have been able to accomplish and all the horrible missteps the Republican Party has done that should have separated the Democrats from the Republicans, none of that matters. The only thing that matters is the economy.
If the Democrats hope to keep control of Congress, they and President Obama need to step up their game, strengthen their message and show how under their control the economy has started to rebound – although at a very slow and aggravating pace – while the Republicans have not given any indication to how they would run things differently from the policies they implemented that put this country into this mess in the first place.
If the Democrats can do those things then the president’s low approval rating will not be a major factor come November. After all, President Obama said it best:
“The Repubs are the ones that drove us into the ditch. Then they stood on the road and criticized while the Dems struggled to get the car out of the ditch. Then, when the Dems finally had the car out of the ditch, the Repubs said ‘give us back the keys.’ No, you can’t have the keys back — you don’t know how to drive. You don’t know how to drive. They don’t know how to drive.
“And I also want to point out, by the way, when you want to go forward in a car, what do you do? You put it in ‘D.’ When you want to go backwards, you put it in ‘R.’ We cannot go backwards – we’ve got to move forwards. That’s what we’re fighting for in this election – moving forwards.”
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