By Neil Newhouse
The downward forces of the triple-threat scandals hitting the Obama administration seem to have finally taken a toll on President Obama’s job approval scores. And, it’s impacting the very voters you’d think it would — Independents.
The latest Quinnipiac Poll shows that the cumulative and steady news drip regarding Benghazi, the IRS and the AP have dropped the president’s job approval scores from 48%-45% to an inverted 45%-49% (a net seven-point drop). The movers? Independent voters — they disapproved of the job he was doing in early May by a 42% (approve)-48% (disapprove) score, and now they disapprove by 37%-57% (a net 14-point drop).
The reasons this is particularly bad news for the president and his agenda?
Obama’s approval score is becoming “de-linked” from the mood of the country. While Obama is slipping, the mood of the country, the perception of the economy and the direction of the economy are all improving from the viewpoint of voters. This is critical for the president, as this poll clearly shows the scandals have prevented him from picking up ground based on Americans’ increased optimism.
The Obama administration’s miscues have become the face of a government that voters feel is disconnected from the American people. Just 15% of Americans say they can trust the government in Washington to do what’s right either almost all of the time or most of the time (the lowest score Quinnipiac has found).
President Obama receives his lowest scores ever in Quinnipiac polling on the attribute of being “honest and trustworthy.” For the first time, less than a majority of voters (49%) believe that describes him.
While some may believe that the current scandals are little more than a distraction that will play itself out over the next couple of months without having a lasting impact on the president, these poll results point to a more disturbing trend for the White House — that the current scandals may “insulate” President Obama from seeing any immediate job approval benefits from the nation’s increasing economic optimism.
Public Opinion Strategies is a national political and public affairs research firm. Neil Newhouse is a partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies and served as lead pollster for Governor Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. In addition to Governor Romney’s 2012 campaign, Neil worked on President Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign, served as the Republican partner in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in 2008, and has been the pollster for dozens of members of Congress, U.S. senators and governors. Neil has twice been named “Pollster of the Year” by the American Association of Political Consultants.