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Add Hispanics to the growing list of Obama supporters disgruntled by aspects of the presidents performance, in what has become for the White House and Democrats a seemingly daily beat of gloomy polls.
Mr. Obama gets only lukewarm ratings on issues important to Hispanics in a Univision/AP poll released Tuesday, and, according to a separate Reuters-Ipsos survey, Americans overwhelmingly believe the president has failed to focus enough on job creation.
“A lot of these folks wouldn’t like him no matter what, but I think the country has pretty much the same problems it did before Obama took office — at least that’s how voters feel — and more and more that’s becoming Obama’s fault rather than Bush’s fault,” said Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling.
While the AP-Univision poll found that 57 percent of Hispanics still approve of Mr. Obama, it revealed deep skepticism among the key Democratic voting bloc. Only 43 percent of Hispanics said Mr. Obama is meeting their needs, according to the poll, while 32 percent were unsure and 21 percent said he has done a poor job.
The Reuters-Ipsos poll, also released Tuesday, found that an overwhelming majority of Americans — 67 percent — do not think Mr. Obama has focused enough on creating jobs, compared with the administration’s emphasis on overhauling health care and rewriting the nation’s financial rules. The survey said only 34 percent approved of the president’s handling of the economy and jobs while 46 percent rejected it as unsatisfactory.
Pollsters said the drop is not unusual for a president confronting so many thorny issues, but that it does show voters want solutions and think Mr. Obama has had enough time to deliver.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs shrugged off questions about Mr. Obama’s sagging numbers Tuesday. With high unemployment and troops still engaged in two wars, he said, “It’s understandable that people are frustrated.”
But the numbers pose a more immediate problem for Democrats in Congress and in the states as the midterm elections loom. Other polls show Republican voters consistently more enthusiastic about voting this fall, as Democrats struggle to preserve their majorities in the House and Senate.
Mr. Obama has argued at town-hall meetings that he isn’t governing by polls but is following through on what he promised during the 2008 campaign.
“That’s why stuff in Washington doesn’t get done, because people put their finger out to the wind,” he said while campaigning for Democrats in Missouri earlier this month. “People get surprised when we follow through and keep our campaign promises. It’s like, well, he went ahead and did health care. Why did he do that? I said I was going to do health care. It was the right thing to do.”
It’s not clear what impact Mr. Obama’s numbers will have on Democrats across the country this fall. He has made several campaign trips already and has scheduled a flurry of activity for this week, including a D.C. fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday night and another party fundraiser in New York on Wednesday.
Mr. Jensen warned that rank-and-file Democrats should be wary of appearing alongside Mr. Obama on the trail, noting that his polling firm’s numbers show the president would be a drag on Democratic candidates even in such places as his home state of Illinois.
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About the Author
Kara Rowland, White House reporter for The Washington Times, is a D.C.-area native. She graduated from the University of Virginia, where she studied American government and spent nearly all her waking hours working as managing editor of the Cavalier Daily, UVa.’s student newspaper.
Her interest in political reporting was piqued by an internship at Roll Call the summer before her ...
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