In the year and half since President Barack Obama entered office, his national approval rating has dropped significantly from about 60 to 45 percent. His approval among Democrats, however, remains an impressive 81 percent, down from about 90 when he was inaugurated. Still, some observers are warning that Obama has lost the enthusiastic, energetic support he once enjoyed among his political base. On Monday, Obama, speaking at a CNBC-broadcasted "town hall" even in Washington, DC, received tough questions from supporters about the state of the economy. Is Obama really in danger with his own political base?
'Erosion of Support' Over Economy The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg says the CNBC event "sounded like a therapy session for disillusioned Obama supporters." The loyal Obama supporters expressed anxiety and fear over the state of the economy and their personal economic situation. "[The tone] reflects the erosion of support for Mr. Obama among the constituencies that sent him to the White House two years ago. ... The president faces overwhelming skepticism from Americans on his handling of the economy."
- 'Exhausted' Dems Lack Enthusiasm ABC News' Jake Tapper says Obama is trying to excite "exhausted" Democrats. "President Obama got an earful from his base, so much so that last night he said he had a message for 'griping and groaning Democrats.' ... The President is trying to battle the enthusiasm gap: conservatives excited to head to the polls in November, liberals not so much."
- This Will Cost Dems in Midterms The Washington Post's Ezra Klein quips, "It's the enthusiasm, stupid. ... The Democratic base is holding at a solid 'meh.' And that's a bad sign for their leadership. Consider that in both 2008 and 2004, the party whose voters were most enthusiastic right before the election won easily -- and the enthusiasm gap was much smaller in both those years than it is this year."
- Obama and Dems 'Neglecting' Black Voters The New York Times' Bob Herbert writes, "It’s no secret that the president is in trouble politically, and that Democrats in Congress are fighting desperately to hold on to their majorities. But much less attention has been given to the level of disenchantment among black voters, who have been hammered disproportionately by the recession and largely taken for granted by the Democratic Party. That disenchantment is likely to translate into lower turnout among blacks this fall."