Obama poll numbers keep falling

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Some congressional Democrats have conceded in recent days that they are worried about the toll the health care battle is taking. Their own numbers have dropped alongside the president’s, and there remains no clear coalition forged to get health care done by the president’s fall deadline.

Gallup reported that its polling has found public approval of Congress at its lowest reading since February. Gallup’s Aug. 6-9 survey found 31 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing while 62 percent disapprove.

Still, not everyone is convinced that Democrats should be sounding alarms.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat, said his party’s leaders have recognized for months what they are facing - the historical track record suggests the party in power almost always loses seats during its first midterm test.

But he said Republicans in Congress are miscalculating by aligning themselves with what he called “the pitchfork crowd,” parading with posters of Mr. Obama’s face smeared with an Adolf Hitler mustache.

Those tactics “are going to boomerang” before the health care debate has ended, Mr. Van Hollen said.

“If Obama has shown anything, it’s that he’s Mister October - that’s when he makes his comebacks after a rough patch,” said Phil Singer, a Democratic consultant who runs Marathon Strategies.

Mr. Singer, who served as a combative top press aide to the Clinton campaign against Mr. Obama in 2007 and 2008, said it would be a “huge mistake” to bet against the president.

He predicted that White House aides - nearly all of whom worked for Mr. Obama during the election - would kick into campaign mode when the American people emerge from summer vacations and re-engage with politics and policy. Mr. Singer also dismissed the troubling early polls for congressional Democrats, such as a Cook Report survey released Friday suggesting the party could lose more than 20 seats in 2010.

“Two years ago, polls showed Hillary Clinton was going to be president,” he said, laughing.

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