By Dick Morris - 09/27/11 10:36 PM EDT
Behind the president’s whining to the Black Caucus, begging them to “quit grumbling,” is a decline in his personal popularity among African-American voters that could portend catastrophe for his fading reelection chances.
According to a Washington Post/ABC News survey, his favorability rating among African-Americans has dropped off a cliff, plunging from 83 percent five months ago to a mere 58 percent today — a drop of 25 points, a bit more than a point per week!
And the emergence of Herman Cain as a serious Republican candidate could not have come at a worse time for the embattled president. Cain’s alternate narrative — self-help, entrepreneurial skill, hard work and self-improvement — stands in stark contrast to the victimization/class warfare argument that the president has adopted.
Over all, how’s that class warfare working out for you, Mr. President? Well, here are some unpleasant numbers for you:
• Before Obama’s speech to Congress and the nation — watched by 34 million families — his job approval averaged 44 percent. Now it averages 43 percent, according to realclearpolitics.com. He deployed his ultimate weapon — a nationally televised speech to Congress — and came up empty.
• The president’s personal favorability has taken a big hit even as his job approval has shown no gain. The Post/ABC poll has his rating down to 47 percent, the first time in his presidency it has dropped below 50. Clearly, the spectacle of a class warrior leading the country is grating on most Americans. Usually, despite drops in his job approval, his personal ratings have stayed high. Not anymore. The most recent New York Times/CBS poll had his favorability actually lagging behind his job approval by 4 points — the first time it has ever done so in their polling.
• Young people, the core of Obama’s base, now hold equally favorable and unfavorable views of the president they once adored. And his favorability among self-described “liberal” Democrats has also dropped. The percentage of those who say they are strongly favorable has fallen from 69 percent in April to 52 percent now. For a president whose reelection chances hinge on his ability to turn out his base, these numbers are depressing indeed.
Obama’s advisers likely think that fervent appeals to liberal views, including class warfare, are the best way to repair the gaping holes that are now appearing in his political base. But this is a conviction born of instinct and intuition, not generated by polling data. The fact is that as the president has ratcheted up his class warfare rhetoric, his personal popularity has fallen and his job approval has edged down slightly.
With only 26 percent of Americans approving of Obama’s handling of the economy (Fox News poll), the president’s ratings are bound to drop further, until and unless he can post real economic gains on the scoreboard, something his rhetoric alienating the GOP House of Representatives and scaring the daylights out of the business community is unlikely to achieve.
Morris, a former adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Clinton, is the author of Outrage, Fleeced, Catastrophe and 2010: Take Back America — A Battle Plan. To get all of his and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by e-mail or to order a signed copy of their latest book, Revolt!: How To Defeat Obama and Repeal His Socialist Programs — A Patriot’s Guide, go to dickmorris.com.