A New Washington Post Poll Is Making News

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll is getting attention today because it seems to show a new low in public approval of Obama. Four months...

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll is getting attention today because it seems to show a new low in public approval of Obama.

Four months before midterm elections that will define the second half of his term, nearly six in 10 voters say they lack faith in the president to make the right decisions for the country, and a clear majority once again disapproves of how he is dealing with the economy.

Regard for Obama is still higher than it is for members of Congress, but the gap has narrowed. About seven in 10 registered voters say they lack confidence in Democratic lawmakers and a similar proportion say so of Republican lawmakers.

The media's interpretation is going to be "the Democrats are in trouble in November." That may be true, but The Economist provides some historical perspective:

Mr Obama's rating puts him in a similar position to Bill Clinton in 1994, and ahead of where Ronald Reagan was in 1982, when he too struggled with a severe recession. Mr Clinton's Democrats lost both the House and the Senate, and Mr Reagan's Republicans lost a bunch of seats in the House, but both went on to easily win re-election two years later.

I'm not prepared to blame Obama for the economy. I think the current problems were created over decades and that he's tried to keep things moving and chart a way out of the malaise, with some success, despite a powerful public phobia of deficits. I'm glad we passed health-care reform and we're on the brink of passing financial regulation legislation.

I'm very upset that we're at BP's mercy to fix the Gulf spill, and I suppose Obama could have really cleaned house at the Minerals Management Service a little earlier. There's a small chance that an early effort there would have helped to forestall, or mitigate, the spill. But that would have seemed like a pretty quixotic priority back in 2009. He inherited a situation in which risky drilling is a necessity because we still need oil and it's in hard-to-reach places, and we can't ensure it's done safely or handle disasters effectively.

What's your take on our Decider these days?

Image: President Barack Obama gestures during a briefing about the ongoing response to the BP oil spill, at the Gulfport Coast Guard Station in Gulfport, Miss., June 14, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.) A U.S. Government work.

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