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Obama Weaker on Nation’s Top Priorities
I wanted to get to this early September poll by AP-Gfk sooner, but time got away from me. However, the data is so compelling it is still worth reviewing.
The key finding of the survey — as highlighted by the chart below — is that Barack Obama has a net negative rating on five of the top six issues to voters: the economy, health care, the budget deficit, unemployment, and taxes. Only on terrorism does he receive a mixed grade (44% approve/42% disapprove).
Thus, while voters still like Obama personally, he has negative issue approval scores on the top issues of the day. Ultimately, his deteriorating issue approval scores will pull down his overall approval score.
Obama does receive positive marks on Afghanistan, energy, Iraq, the environment, and relationships with other countries, but those are five of the seven lowest issues of importance to voters. In fact, his highest issue approval rating (53% approve/37% disapprove) comes on the issue least important to voters of the 13 tested — “relationships with other countries.”
This reinforces the need for Republicans to continue to define President Obama (and the Democrats in Congress) on issues. Bad ideas on health care, making the deficit much worse, raising taxes, and doing nothing to help the economy and unemployment. That’s a pretty potent issue message.
Republicans do need to show we have ideas of our own — but most of this election will be fought over the Democrats’ handling of these top issues.