The Incredible, Sinking Obama

President Obama’s high-handedness is causing the public to backhand him in recent polls.

A national uproar has followed the president’s declaration last Friday that he supports a Muslim group’s right to build a mosque and a $100-million community center two blocks from Ground Zero, where about 2,600 civilians died in the 9/11 World Trade Center attack. A Fox News poll also released on August 13  found that "61 percent of voters think the Muslim group has the right to build a mosque in lower Manhattan. However, 64 percent think it would be wrong to put a mosque there.

This fits a pattern of Obama’s sliding polls. Several of the president’s high-handed policies conflict with majority public opinion.

• In a Quinnipiac University poll 65% of registered voters think that “President Obama’s policies” have either “hurt the economy or haven’t made a difference.” An overwhelming 84% say they think “President Obama’s policies have either “hurt or haven’t made a difference” in their “personal financial situation.”

• In a Pew Research/National Journal poll of adults nationwide, 57% said they think “the economic stimulus” has failed to keep “unemployment from getting even worse” and 66% think “the economic stimulus” has “increased the federal budget deficit.”

• In a Time magazine poll of adults nationwide, 53% said that the economy would be “better off if the government had not spent…additional money on the stimulus program” and 67% “oppose additional government spending for a second stimulus package.”

• In a CBS poll 52% of Americans believe that “Barack Obama has been spending too little time trying to fix the nation’s economy and create jobs.”

• On the issue that the president has arguably spent the most time on during his presidency—pushing through health care reform—a Rasmussen national telephone survey found that, “57% of likely U.S. voters say the recently passed health care law will be bad for the country.

That’s the highest level of pessimism measured since regular tracking began following Congress' passage of the law in late March,” and “59% of all voters now favor repeal of the health care bill.”

• Just before passage of the president’s second major legislative initiative—his financial regulation overhaul—an Associated Press-GfK Poll determined that “64 percent of those surveyed aren't confident that a financial regulation overhaul…will avert another meltdown.”

• A Rasmussen national telephone survey found that, “Voters by a two-to-one margin oppose[d] the U.S. Justice Department’s decision to challenge the legality of Arizona’s new immigration law in federal court.”

Just after a U.S. district court judge (a Clinton appointee) struck down sections of that Arizona law, 59% of those surveyed told Rasmussen that they, “favor passage of an Arizona-like immigration law in their state.”

• In a USA TODAY/Gallup poll, “Support for Obama's management of the [Afghanistan] war fell to 36%, down from 48% in a February poll. Now, a record 43% also say it was a mistake to go to war there after the terrorist attacks in 2001.”

• The same poll also found that, “Even Obama's handling of the war in Iraq received record-low approval, despite a drawdown of 90,000 troops and the planned, on-schedule end of U.S. combat operations there this month.” And, “Only 41% of those surveyed…approved of the way Obama is handling his job, his lowest rating in the USA Today/Gallup Poll since he took office in January 2009.”

The president’s high-handedness on many other issues shows him ignoring or defying public opinion. Here’s a partial list:

• His pledge to shut down the prison at the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

• His big government agenda—out of control spending, debt, and deficits.

• His under the table and over the top “deal making” in Congress (i.e. vote buying) to pass legislation.

• His turning toxic companies like AIG and toxic “government-sponsored enterprises” like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into virtual wards of the state—eating up billions in taxpayer money each month.

• His showering of taxpayer money and special favors on special interests (particularly unions).

Even in a poll by Democracy Corps—the firm run by Democratic strategists James Carville and Stan Greenberg—56% of likely voters said that “liberal” describes Barack Obama “very well or well” and 55% said the same about labeling Obama a “socialist.”

One of Obama’s heroes, President Abraham Lincoln, said, “With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.”

For President Obama, playing high-handed with the public is playing a losing hand.

Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at

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