Of course, when we look at what's driving this drop, we see that maybe this isn't exactly a widespread phenomenon. Obama's not the one slipping out of the mainstream here, Republicans are. Obama's actually steady among Democrats -- 88% in January, compared with 89% in June -- and down slightly among independents -- 62% then to 59% now. Gallup explains what makes up the bulk of the drop:
Republicans account for most of the change in Obama's approval ratings from January through June, with their approval shifting downward from 40% in January to 25% today. Most of the change among Republicans came between January and March; Republicans' assessments of Obama have stayed fairly stable since.
So things are going along swimmingly, so long as you leave out Republican opinions. At this point, you probably can. Obama's numbers among Independents in June were down 4 points from May -- 59% from 63% -- but May was kind of a spike in that demographic. The previous month scored 60%.
In fact, take party out of the equation and a majority approve of Obama in every demographic but one -- people who attend church weekly. Normally a GOP bastion, even here it's a wash, with 50% approving. In no group does a majority disapprove of Obama's work as president.
You'll notice that no demo falls below 50%, let alone so far as 25%. Republicans are the outsiders here. What's surprising is that GOP voters once rated him as high as 40%. You see the same thing happening when you break it down by ideology. Obama gets 88% of liberals, 70% of moderates, and only 37% of self-described conservatives. What's my explanation for the difference between Republicans' opinions and everyone else's?
Republicans are crazy. Or, at least, goofy.
Another poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds that only 6% of working scientists are Republican -- 55% are Democrats and 32% are Independents. Broken down by ideology, 52% are liberal, 35% are moderate, and a whopping 9% are conservative.
It doesn't take a whole lot of thought to explain this; when the GOP isn't on the side of industry shills with things like global warming or the health effects of tobacco, they're on the side of witch doctors with stuff like creationism and a belief that you can "cure" gays. What's surprising is that 6% still side with these scientific cranks.
In yet another poll, Rasmussen finds that, among those who say national security is their top concern, Sarah Palin is the number one choice for Republican presidential nominee in 2012. That'd be the same Sarah Palin who had no idea what the Bush Doctrine was and spent a lot of time trying to convince everyone that Barack Obama was a terrorist.
"I can see how folks would find Palin appealing as a folksy and combative hockey mom type, an outsider and reformer who dukes it out with coastal elites on behalf of ordinary Everymoms all over the vast middle of the country," writes Greg Sargent. "But as a military leader?"
Like I said, either crazy or goofy. In either case, not exactly in touch with their fellow Americans. In opinion polling, Republicans are always off in their own wingnut reality, far away from the opinions of everyone else. We can write off polling on 2012 candidates as meaningless at this point, with the exception that it demonstrates where Republicans' heads are now. And where their heads are now says a lot about their chances in 2010, when every Republican house member is up for reelection and a third of the senate tests itself at the polls.
It doesn't say good things about that.
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