Posted on June 7, 2013

Storm Clouds Ahead for Barack Obama: Less than Half of Americans Now View Their President as ‘Honest and Trustworthy’

Nile Gardiner, Telegraph (London), May 30, 2013

The latest Quinnipiac University poll, published today, will send shivers through the White House, even though Washington is experiencing its first heat wave of the year. The Quinnipiac survey (hat tip: Jim Geraghty at The Campaign Spot) is the first major survey to show that the wave of recent scandals hitting the Obama administration are beginning to damage President Obama’s own standing with the American people. According to Quinnipiac, Barack Obama’s job approval rating now stands at just 45 percent, with less than half of voters viewing the president as “honest and trustworthy.”

President Barack Obama gets a negative 45 – 49 percent job approval rating, compared to 48 – 45 percent positive in a May 1 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University, conducted before the IRS allegations surfaced.

The president’s biggest drop is among independent voters, who give him a negative 37 – 57 percent score, compared to a negative 42 – 48 percent May 1. He gets a negative 9 – 86 percent from Republicans and a positive 87 – 8 percent from Democrats, both virtually unchanged. Women approve 49 – 45 percent while men give a negative 40 – 54 percent score.

Americans are divided 49 – 47 percent on whether Obama is honest and trustworthy, down from 58 – 37 percent, the last time Quinnipiac University asked the question September 1, 2011.

The Quinnipiac study also shows deep-seated disillusionment with the federal government among American voters.

Only 3 percent of voters trust the federal government to do the right thing almost all the time, while 12 percent say they trust it most of the time; 47 percent say some of the time and 36 percent hardly ever. That compares to results of a Quinnipiac University poll in July 2010, four months before the Republican sweep that year on the back of anti-government sentiment, when 2 percent said almost always, 16 percent said most of the time; 50 percent said some of the time and 31 percent said hardly ever.

Of the three major scandals currently engulfing the presidency – the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the Obama administration’s response to the Benghazi terrorist attack, and the Justice Department’s seizure of phone records belonging to Associated Press journalists, the IRS issue is making the biggest impact with voters. According to Quinnipiac, 66 percent of Americans disapprove of the way in which the IRS is handling its job, and 76 percent support the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS scandal. The Benghazi issue is also doing considerable damage to the Obama administration’s image, with 46 percent believing “the Obama administration deliberately misled the American people about the events surrounding the death of the American Ambassador to Libya.” Voters are generally less familiar with the AP story.

The Quinnipiac poll suggests trouble ahead for next year’s Congressional mid-term elections, where the Republicans will be seeking to consolidate and expand their control of the House of Representatives, and possibly retake the Senate. Significantly, among Independent voters, who are likely to decide many of the crucial House and Senate races in November 2014, 57 percent disapprove of Barack Obama’s job performance, and 56 percent do not believe that the president is “honest and trustworthy.” By a 45 percent to 35 percent margin, Independents believe that Republicans in Congress are doing a better job than President Obama on handling the economy, the number one issue for the American electorate. Among all voters, Barack Obama and Congressional Republicans are tied at 43 percent. Overall, 68 percent of Americans are “somewhat dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with the direction the United States is taking, hardly a vote of confidence in Mr. Obama’s leadership. Expect even worse figures for the White House in the coming weeks, as the pressure intensifies on a scandal-hit presidency.