Inside the Beltway and the media bubble, Barack Obama is still the man of the hour. On CNN, his speeches are even compared to sex. (Someone needs to have a talk with that commentator. I don't think he's doing it right.) The Democrats obviously believe that they are in a unique historical moment, of which they can take advantage by moving the country decisively to the left.
There is strong evidence, however, that the American people are not excited about the Dems' leftward lurch. Last week, President Obama gave his first State of the Union address to an adoring Congress and unveiled his administration's first budget. What happened? His approval rating declined.
Scott Rasmussen has been tracking Obama's "approval index," which is the difference between those who "strongly approve" of his performance and those who "strongly disapprove." Today the approval index declined to + 8, the lowest level in Obama's brief tenure in office.
Overall, 58 percent approve of Obama's performance so far, while 40 percent disapprove. As we've said before, that's not bad, but it's nothing special for a newly-elected President. Jimmy Carter was more popular at this stage of his administration.
What's happening here is that, while media types swoon over Obama's way with a teleprompter, voters are focusing on something else--the consequences of higher taxes, unprecedented federal spending and control over the economy, and crushing levels of debt. The more they focus on those things, the less they like them.
Most voters will give the Democrats the benefit of the doubt for now. But as the ill effects of the Dems' policies confirm voters' skepticism, the stage may be set for a decisive revulsion against the Democrats far-left program. That is, I think, the hope that conservatives need to focus on in 2010 and 2012.
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