Gallup is out with a new poll that shows U.S. satisfaction is really low right now. Given the economic state and how broken Congress is, that should come as no shock. Some on the right are pushing this as the “Obama is Carter” meme:
The second term of Jimmy Carter is going about as well as the first one. From Gallup: “PRINCETON, NJ — Throughout 2011, an average of 17% of Americans said they were satisfied with the way things are going in the United States. That is the second-lowest annual average in the more than 30-year history of the question, after the 15% from 2008. Satisfaction has averaged as high as 60% in 1986, 1998, and 2000.”
What does this mean?
Ok Don, I’ll bite. What does it mean?
Expect more cries of racism by Eric Holder and other incompetents.
Expect more cries of sexism by Babs Boxer and other nincompoops.
Expect more cries of income inequality from Paul Krugman and other hypocrites.
And expect more shabby attempts to trap Republican presidential candidates. Remember The Surber Rule: “The economy will win the presidency for Republicans in 2012. Republicans should talk about nothing else, and should avoid troll questions by any reporter who tries to distract them.”
It’s desperation time.
Really? Well when I look at this chart I actually see something else:
Satisfaction was actually lower in 2008, and despite what many on the right will say, George W. Bush was President then. As matter of fact when you look closer you notice something else. For the millennium, the highest was 60% when Clinton was getting ready to leave office. Since then satisfaction started a constant downward slide, well until a little spike in 2009.
But let’s expand this year and look at what happened:
Things were starting to look good until about the time that whole national debt fight started. Once that happened things took a downward spiral again. Now things are once again on the rise, but we also have this payroll tax cut fight going on and that could really push the number back down.
Earlier this year Mitch McConnell said that the Republicans number one priority this year was making sure Barack Obama didn’t get re-elected next year. They didn’t put jobs or the economy ahead of that, instead only focusing on politics. Keeping the satisfaction number low is a key to this. Piss the voters off. Keep more away from the polls and that helps the GOP.
But now a monkey wrench has been thrown into McConnell’s plan. That monkey wrench is called John Boehner. Just a couple of hours ago McConnell released a statement calling on Boehner to get his people to vote for the Senate bill.
Now I don’t care much for Mitch, but he is a smart politician. He knows that this fight is hurting his grand scheme of not getting Obama a second term. The entire payroll tax cut fight has fractured the Congressional GOP and it’s playing out in the public stage. That looks horrible for the right, so McConnell had to break his silence and make it look like he’s trying to get Boehner to fall in line. The problem is it’s not working. Boehner is holding his ground and refuses to budge. The explosion is starting to look like it might carry over past Christmas, when families are together talking about how their paychecks are about to go down and the obstructionism that’s the House GOP is the cause of it.
All of this will play into the satisfaction number if it carries through to the next poll. Like I said, you can expect to see it go down even more. But here’s the key. You can make polls out to mean anything you want. The right can say this looks bad for Obama while the left claims it’s bad for the Republicans. The key indicator will be another poll – the Congressional approval rating. That number is already in the gutter, but there is room for it to go lower.
Allow me to illustrate this with a chart from another recent poll from Gallup – the Congressional approval rating:
Notice something there? It closely mimics the other graph on top for the satisfaction level in 2011. Things were going up until that messy debt fight started.
If you go out to view the long term approval rating you’ll notice the same trend:
Again – very close. The national satisfaction isn’t representative of the President alone. It represents our government as a whole and as much as congressional Republicans try not to admit it, they are part of the government too.
This can also be backed up by a recent CNN poll that shows the Democratic favorability rating holding steady at 55% while the Republican rating has dropped to 43% from 49% in June.
If we see the Republicans continue this nose dive and Democrats holding steady or increasing, including President Obama, then it gives us a real sense of the mood of the country. We are still a pissed off nation, but that anger is being directed at the GOP. That would be really good news for the Democrats going into an election year and something that should have the GOP seriously worried.