By: John Zogby Forbes.com Contributor
According to a new poll of likely voters by Zogby Analytics, President Barack Obama maintains a 51% overall job approval rating. The poll of 1000 likely voters, conducted online on May 8 and 9, shows the President’s disapproval rating to be 46%. The numbers are almost identical to last month’s Zogby Analytics’ poll which had Mr. Obama at 52% approval and 46% disapproval.
A lot of the sub-groups polled were fairly close to last month, but a few are worthy of note. Mr. Obama’s changed more among Republican voters (17%-82%, compared with 20% -79%). Democrats and independents were unchanged. Support from men went down to 48% (it was 52% in April. Among age groups, the biggest changes came from 18-29 year olds – who have given the President over 60% of their support in 2008 and 2012 – with only 53% currently given him a positive and 44% negative (it was 39% in April). Older voters who have never really been fans of this President declined from 39% positive to only 24%, with 72.% now in the negative column (up from 60% in April). On the flip side, Baby Boomers (50-64 year olds) moved up from 48% in April to 54% in May.
Hispanic approval continued to move up to 79% (it was 76% last month and the President won re-election with 71% of the Hispanic vote). So, to, did African American approval – 86%, up from 83%. Catholic support dropped 7 points (57% to 50%). It now appears that three groups which I have been following closely for over a decade – NASCAR Fans, Weekly Wal-Mart Shoppers, and the Investor Class – have clearly changed their allegiance from GOP to Democrat. NASCAR Fans may be turned off by the inefficacy of and the internal fighting within the Republican Party. The demographics of Wal-Mart Shoppers have significantly been altered as growing numbers of younger shoppers and big city dwellers find it useful to wear that Smiley Face in an era of the shrinking dollar (theirs!) The ranks of the Investor Class have dwindled but they seem to be very happy today as the Dow sets records almost daily.
The President maintains solid support among the Creative Class (56% approval, 42% disapproval) and union voters (65% approval, 32% disapproval), although the latter group’s support is down 9 points from last month.
A majority of voters 51% -- the same number as the President’s approval – see the country heading in the wrong direction , while 39% say they expect to be better off financially four years from now (unchanged from 38% last month), while 24% expect to be worse off (down from 26%). Half are optimistic for the United States over the next four years (50%, down from 53%), while those are pessimistic stayed at 42%.
The poll was taken while the war in Syria threatened to expand throughout the region, high profile hearings on the Department of State’s handling of the Benghazi, Libya murders took place, some leading Democrats worried out loud about the implementation of Obamacare, and federal officials are feeling some heat about their handling of the Boston Marathon bomber. For the President, the GOP seems to be aiming its guns at 2016 presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton and not at him and unemployment is down to 7.5%. But in between firing their shots at Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, the GOP is taking shooting practice by firing its shots at each other.
While the GOP might take temporary solace in their ability to stymie efforts by a President that has twice won with a majority vote, they will still have to answer two key questions: “Once your investigations what will you actually do that will make this country a better one? How are you different than George W. Bush?” These may be worth expending some time and energy on.