By Melissa Clyne
In the throes of record disapproval ratings and a blanket lack of confidence by Americans, President Barack Obama will attempt to turn the tide tonight when he delivers his sixth State of the Union address.
But doing so could be a Herculean task based on the results of a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Tuesday that found negative ratings in everything from the economy to the job performance of the president and Congress.
More than half of the respondents disapprove of the president’s job performance — 51 percent — though Congress fared even worse, garnering an 81 percent disapproval rating. Forty percent hold negative views of Democrats, topped by 47 percent feeling negatively toward Republicans. Obama’s approval rating also remains essentially tied with the record low approval in NBC’s polling that he registered in October.
“Since the rise of modern polling in the 1930s, only George W. Bush has begun his sixth year in the White House on rockier ground than Mr. Obama,” the Journal said in its article.
Just 2 percent of respondents said they were very satisfied with the economy. Seventy-one percent were very or somewhat dissatisfied, compared with 26 percent who were somewhat satisfied.
Obama plans to focus on seven key issues this evening, according to The Washington Post. Those agenda items include: defending Obamacare, climate change, early childhood education, immigration reform, ending the war in Afghanistan, foreign policy, and bipartisanship.
A whopping 91 percent of those polled said job creation should be an absolute priority this year, followed by trimming the federal budget, preschool for all children, and addressing Iran’s nuclear program. While the president is expected to make climate change one of his key talking points, only 27 percent of poll respondents think the issue should be a priority for the administration.
After failing to produce any meaningful legislative results with Republicans in 2013, the president plans to tout a “pen and phone strategy,” according to The Washington Post.
“Look for Obama to focus on actions that he and his administration can take unilaterally without seeking approval from the Republican-controlled House, which remains hostile to his agenda,” the paper reports. “For weeks now, the president and his advisers have talked about a ‘pen and phone’ strategy by which Obama signs executive orders or uses the bully pulpit of the White House as convening power to make progress on issues ranging from the economy to the environment.”
Other noteworthy poll results:
- 44 percent of respondents reported negative views of Obama, while 42 percent felt positively about him.
- 62 percent of respondents used negative descriptors, such as “downhill,” “wrong track,” “disaster” and “hard times,” to characterize where they think America is headed in the nest year.
- 48 percent said Obamacare is a “total bad idea.”
- 55 percent favored legalizing marijuana.
The White House was dismissive of the poll numbers.
“I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about that. Here’s what I spend a lot of time worrying about: making sure the American people see publicly what I see privately every day, which is a president who’s focused very much on opportunity, action and optimism,” White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said on NBC’s “Today” show Tuesday.
“Notwithstanding what the polls say and notwithstanding what Congress does … the president of the United States doesn’t come down to work every day or go home up to the residence every night worried about poll numbers. What he worries about is making sure there’s opportunity for every American,” McDonough said.
- Washington Post-ABC News Poll: 63 Percent Have ‘No Confidence’ in Obama
- Rand Paul, GOP Blast Obama’s Plan to Use Executive Action
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