Gallup mentions the most obvious point – the President has slipped from his historical approval rating among African-Americans (usually around 92%) all the way down to 85%* – but it kind of obscures a detail on the graph with regard to Hispanic voters. They acknowledge that the President is currently at a low with 54% of those voters, but Gallup does not point out that Obama’s approval rating dropped by double digits with those voters over a year ago and hasn’t really come back since. For that matter, the real story from that graph is that the President has a 39% approval rating among whites; his approval rating among those voters at the beginning of his term was somewhere just above 60%.
Andrew Malcolm is right to couch all of this in terms of it merely being worrisome for the President; after all, it’s early days yet. But he’s also right that Obama should be worrying about this, given that hyper-enthusiasm is precisely what his campaign needs if they seriously plan to raise a billion dollars for the 2012 campaign. In fact, i think that the billion-dollar number is going to end up being a bit of an albatross for the President: it will require a constant, probably grueling, emphasis on fundraising in order to work, and it has already forced the President to formally re-enter the electoral arena months early. In other words, the President may have been better off if he had decided not to try to beat his high score.
One last detail: the Gallup poll shows Obama’s approval among 18-29 year old voters to be 54%. In April of 2009 that number was 74%. This is not incompatible with the categories mentioned earlier (96% for African-Americans; 85% for Hispanics; 57% for whites), but it still represents a significant erosion of support among a key demographic for the President. One that is currently expected to be fueling most of the enthusiasm for Obama’s 2012 campaign, in fact; so it seems unusual that Gallup didn’t mention it at all…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Is that meaningful? Yes and no: high African-American turnout was a key factor in flipping several Red states in 2008, but there are plenty of viable Democratic re-election strategies that don’t rely on Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida in order to work. On the other hand, the Midwest isn’t looking very friendly to Obama these days, either.