News / USA

Obama's Weak Poll Ratings Worry Democrats

Obama's Weak Poll Ratings Worry Democratsi
X
July 16, 2014 5:17 PM
2014 is a congressional election year in the United States, but many Democratic candidates appear determined to keep some political distance between themselves and President Barack Obama. Obama’s public approval rating is stuck at around 40 percent and that could hurt Democratic hopes to hold their majority in the Senate. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
VIDEO: In this congressional election year, many Democratic candidates appear determined to keep some political distance between themselves and President Barack Obama. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

In this U.S. congressional election year, it’s already clear that many Democratic candidates are determined to keep some political distance between themselves and President Barack Obama.

Obama’s public approval rating is stuck at around 40 percent, and many Democrats worry that could undermine their hopes to hold their majority in the Senate this year and prevent losses in the House of Representatives.

The president’s challenges abroad have grown in recent days, including violence in the Mideast and Iraq and an immigration crisis along the southern U.S. border.

But even as the immigration crisis dominates domestic headlines, the president has been squarely focused on the economy and trying to circumvent Republican attempts to block his agenda in Congress.

During a recent visit to Texas, Obama repeated his vow that he will take action where he can to break Washington’s political gridlock.  

“Whenever and wherever I have the power, the legal authority to help families like yours, even if Congress is not doing anything, I will take that opportunity.  I will try to make something happen," he said.

The president has also been dismissive of House Republican plans to sue him in federal court over his use of executive authority on a range of issues.  

“You hear some of them: 'Sue him!  Impeach him,' he said.  "Really?  Really?  For what?  You are going to sue me for doing my job?”

On the immigration issue, Republicans blame the president for not doing more to secure the southern U.S. border, including House Speaker John Boehner.  

“This is a problem of the president’s own making!  He’s been president for five-and-one-half years," he said. "When is he going to take responsibility for something?”

The president is also getting pressure from his political left and liberal Democrats like Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois who want to ensure that young migrants from Central America are protected.

“I plan to support the president’s budget request, but we must make sure we do not short-circuit justice for the children," he said.

But the overarching problem for Democrats at the moment is the president’s poor poll ratings.  Historically, weak poll numbers for the president in a congressional election year spell trouble for the president’s party, says political analyst Charlie Cook.

“Whenever you have a president and a midterm election where the president’s approval rating is well below 50 percent and whose disapproval ratings are above 50 percent, at or above 50 percent, it is a problem,” he said.

Republicans currently hold a majority in the House and need a gain of six seats to seize a majority in the Senate.  Republican control of both chambers in the president’s final two years in office would be a huge political obstacle for Obama. 

Political analyst John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington says Republicans appear to be well on their way to making that happen.  

“They need six seats to take to make the majority, but they’ve got a good shot, at least a 50-50 shot, of taking the Senate and probably even gaining a few seats in the House,” he said.

Obama’s second term blues are in keeping with recent history, says Charlie Cook, noting recent setbacks for two-term presidents like George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.  

“You get into years six, seven and eight and they kind of run out of gas and bad things typically happen,” he said.

Obama seems determined to turn that around as he keeps up an energetic schedule of speeches around the country aimed at energizing Democrats for the midterm election.  But even as the president slips into early campaign mode, it remains to be seen how many Democrats will welcome his help between now and November.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More