Obama's Approval Numbers Dangerously Low in Battleground Districts

A new NPR survey of 70 battleground districts is full of bad news for Democrats. Republicans have a strong lead in the generic ballot in the swing districts surveyed, wining by 49 percent to 41 percent. The poll found that Republicans voters are energized, while Democratic voters are disengaged. Probably the most problematic finding was how low President Obama's approval rating is in swing districts.
President Obama's approval ratings are much lower in these competitive districts than they are nationally: 54 percent of the likely battleground voters disapproved of Obama's performance; 40 percent approved.

"It's very problematic for the President to have a 40 percent approval rating in these 60 Democratic districts," [Republican pollster Glen] Bolger said. "When you look at history, when the President is below 50 percent nationally, his party tends to lose more than 40 seats."

Democrats can only hope that Obama's approval numbers are the temporary victims of the BP oil disaster, and that if and when that situation leaves the front page, they’ll rebound somewhat. But still, that probably accounts for only a few percentage points. The economy and jobs remain the top concerns for voters. Barring a significant uptick in employment, it’s tough to see Democrats’ election prospects and approval numbers seriously improving before November.

With short-term deficit hysteria infecting Congressional Democrats, the federal government may not take major steps to improve the employment situation any time soon. Democrats have scared themselves into inaction. Ironically, the effect of the poor economy, due to federal paralysis, will probably be more politically damaging than any major piece of legislation they could have passed.

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