By Justin Sink
President Obama’s approval rating has fallen to a record low in California, with fewer than half of the voters in the Democratic stronghold approving of the way he has handled his job, for the first time since 2011.
Those numbers are actually better than the president’s national rating, with a Gallup poll taken late last month showing 42 percent approval for the president and 51 percent disapproval.
But the California poll might be an ominous sign. The president has been able to keep his approval ratings in the low 40s, largely thanks to a loyal Democratic base, which continues to support him at a steady clip.
But support from California Democrats dropped 8 percentage points over the summer — including 11 points in Los Angeles and 7 points in the San Francisco Bay Area — according to the Field Poll. If those trends are a harbinger of what is to come nationally, the president could see Democrats join independent and Republican voters in voicing concern over his leadership, further eroding his standing.
That could hurt Democrats in November. California is a fertile fundraising ground for the president’s party, with Obama visiting for high-dollar soirees in May, June and July. He’s likely to return again to raise money for Democratic candidates before the midterm elections, but declining popularity among his base could make it harder to sell tickets to events, which can regularly range up to $32,000 per plate.
The president’s declining popularity could also prove an anchor for vulnerable Democrats in the state, including Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.), a freshman lawmaker who represents a toss-up district in Sacramento County. Outside conservative groups, including Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, have targeted the race.