I would suggest it’ not that his popularity and approval rating are slipping, but that they were artificially high during the election season because the independents and many conservatives were distrustful of the Washington cabal that foisted Mitt Romney on the Republican Party. (For more on the growing discontent of the Republican rank and file, look here. for Pat Caddell’s excellent CPAC speech on the “establishiment” or Progressive Republicans, see here.)
It started to be evident with the Reason-Rupe poll, which tends to have a heavy “independent” (read, libertarian) and Democrat voters for this poll: “Nearly six in ten Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction. But 51 percent approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing, 43 percent disapprove. The president’s handling of the economy gets lower marks: 47 percent approve, 49 percent disapprove.”
Reuters also noted the election bump was over: “A Reuters/Ipsos online poll released on Wednesday showed 43 percent of people approve of Obama’s handling of his job, down 7 percentage points from February 19…”
The Washington Post: “In December, just after he won a second term, Obama held an 18-percentage-point advantage over congressional Republicans on the question of whom the public trusted more to deal with the economy. Now, it’s a far more even split — 44 percent to 40 percent, with a slight edge for the president — but the share of those saying they have confidence in “neither” has ticked up into double digits.”
All of the polls seem to target the president’s hyperbolic “sequestration is a fate worse than a fate worse than death” rhetoric, and it certainly does strain credulity — even of teh most Democratic faithful — to think that a cut in growth of the budget by 2% would bring about some Roland Emmerich-style armageddon. I would suggest that instead of losing ground due to sequestration, the president got an artificial bump in approval due to the awful GOP candidate running against him, and from media manipulation of the polls. The economy still is lackluster, with high unemployment and underemployment, massive consumer debt thanks to student loans (which destroys a young person’s ability to consume), and underreported inflation, especially in food and fuel (two things not taken into the governmental inflation reports.)
He’s not losing support. He never had it. This is simply a return to the unimpressive support the president had prior to the election. The support from the independents, in particular, was ephemeral — more a function of the open fraud and cronyism in Republican politics than any faith in the president’s ability to mange the ship of state.