The NYT reports that two new polls showed that President Obama’s approval rating had dipped below 50 percent for the first time.
Polls by Gallup and Quinnipiac University at the end of last week showed that Mr. Obama’s job approval rating had dropped below 50 percent, though not by much: it was 49 percent in the Gallup poll and 48 percent in the Quinnipiac poll.
Mr. Obama’s poll numbers reflect an array of challenges that have combined to create a sour climate for him. The unemployment rate has jumped above 10 percent and shows no sign of declining. At this point, even if Mr. Obama cannot be blamed for causing the economic decline, Americans seem increasingly impatient with him to fix it.
In fact, many of his biggest supporters are now writing scathing editorials against him. Arianna Huffington raises the question: will unemployment be Barack Obama’s Katrina?
Just as Katrina exposed critical weaknesses in the priorities and competence of the Bush administration, the unfolding unemployment disaster is threatening to do the same for the Obama White House.
Though to be fair, she lays it financial advisors Geithner and Summers as well.
Even 10.2 percent, the highest level in 26 years, after 22 straight months of job losses, doesn’t seem to have quickened the pulse of Larry Summers and Tim Geithner. […]But even if it hasn’t hit home for them, it should be clear that unemployment is going to be the singular issue of 2010. […] At this point you have to wonder what Obama’s attachment to Summers and Geithner is. We know if you become a target of Glenn Beck and cause five seconds of embarrassment to the administration you need to start updating your resume (ask Van Jones, Greg Craig, and Anita Dunn), but if you slowly bring down the administration, and the party, and the country, that’s apparently fine.
But besides the millions of unemployed, there will be another victim: the Democratic Party.
As Adam Nagourney writes in the Times: “For the past 50 years, almost without exception, the party loses seats in November when its president’s average approval rating in September and October drops below 50 percent.”