Obama Needs to Dramatically Change Course If He Wants Fix His Slipping Poll Numbers

The most recent Rassmussen poll shows the percentage of respondents saying America is headed in the right direction at 22 percent. That is the lowest level since President Obama took office.

This is a harbinger of ill for the president and, notwithstanding the 49% approval rating he has just garnered in the latest Fox News opinion poll, there is a suggestion in the data that he needs to change course, and change course dramatically, if he is going to strengthen his position for reelection.

Put simply, the president has sought to pursue a strategy of rhetorically moving to the center, all the while not engaging fundamentally in substantive initiatives that would alter policy.

On the jobs front, while the president has said many of the right things that have temporarily reassured the business community, he has done virtually nothing to implement policies that will stimulate lasting job creation.

On the budgetary front, the Democrats and the president have been largely absent from any serious efforts to provide either short term or long term fiscal planning and management for the United States.

And in the Middle East generally, and in Libya in particular, there has been a clear perception of dithering and, indeed passivity, that has provoked concerns on both sides of the aisle.

Yet, President Obama, by dint of the budget deal in December, his visit to the Chamber of Commerce in February, and his, at the very least, rhetorical attacks on regulation, has managed to appear more reasoned and more moderate, particularly in the wake of his speech in Tucson, Arizona following the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others. speech. However, with food prices going up, with gasoline prices going up ominously-- at close to four dollars a gallon -- there is a need for a change in course.

Put simply, the president needs to engage more thoroughly in the budgetary process. There are a number of important steps he needs to take.

- Specifically, he needs to work to achieve a balanced budget.

- He needs to work more seriously on developing a plan to create jobs

- To strengthen our position internationally

- And, more generally, President Obama needs to articulate a broad strategic initiative for the administration that goes well beyond simply offering homilies toward bipartisanship and cooperation.

If he is able to do that, he can turn these numbers around. In the absence of this, expect further drift in a negative direction.

Douglas E. Schoen is a political strategist and Fox News contributor. His most recent book is "Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System" published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins.