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Today in Washington – July 20, 2010

President Obama’s popularity is going down fast.  According to Gallup, the President is especially unpopular in Wyoming (29%), Utah (34%), West Virginia (34%), Idaho (34%), Oklahoma (37%), Alaska (38%), Montana (38%), Arkansas (40%), Kentucky (40%), Tennessee (41%), New Hampshire (41%), Alabama (41%), and Missouri (41%).  If you are running for House or Senate in any of these states, it may be time to start running away from President Obama’s unpopular ideas.  More from Gallup:

During the first half of 2010, residents of Hawaii and the District of Columbia were most likely to approve of the job Barack Obama is doing as president. His lowest approval ratings came from Wyoming residents. All told, there is a 56 percentage-point gap between Obama’s highest and lowest state ratings.

So much for bringing this country together.  The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on the nomination of Elena Kagan to be Supreme Court justice today.  The Senate is scheduled to swear in Carte Goodwin as Senator from West Virginia at 2:15, then vote on cloture at 2:30 on H.R.4213, Unemployment Insurance Extension.  The House has 18 suspension votes scheduled for today. 

The big issue for conservatives to watch today is the plummeting poll numbers nationwide for President Obama and his policies.  In golf lingo, if the Gallup poll was a bogey, a poll released yesterday by Politico was a lost ball for the President.  The Politico poll indicates that President Obama would lose his job to “The Republican Nominee” if an election were held today.  Not a good place to be one year and a half into your presidency and a terrible place to be if you are promoting one of the President’s many unpopular ideas.  White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs should be yelling “FORE!” to Congressional Democrats, because the President has hitting some terrible tee shots for his party.  Clearly, I watched too much golf this weekend.

On the issue of “how satisfied have you been with President Obama’s response to the oil spill,” 34% were satisfied and 61% were dissatisfied according to the Politico poll.  The poll further indicated that the American people are deeply concerned about the economy (48%) to the exclusion of all other issues.  No other issue even came close.  As the economy stagnates, these poll numbers indicate that the President’s approval rating will also stagnate and go down.

One fascinating question pitted President Obama against an unnamed Republican nominee for President.  In a generic ballot, the President received 37% versus 42% for “The Republican Candidate.”  That is alarming.  The silver lining that the Obama Administration will spin from this poll is that when Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee, and Haley Barbour were named in the poll as the Republican nominee, Obama won.  The problem with the latter poll numbers is that Obama did not get anywhere near 50% in the head to head battles.  President Obama is in the political rough right now and he is going to have a hard time turning the economy around in a few months before the Fall elections, and for that matter, before the next Presidential election.

These poll numbers will impact the agenda for Congress.  As the President becomes more unpopular or retains low poll numbers, there is no incentive for his allies in Congress to take one for the team.  The President’s agenda from Global Warming to his foreign policy initiatives will be under high scrutiny and Congressional Democrats will be unwilling to bring up controversial issues.  At some point, the Democrat masses on Capitol Hill will tell the White House enough is enough and order the President to focus 100% of his efforts in talking about his plan to turn around the economy.  The Stimulus has proven to be an unmitigated Keynesian failure.  The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are about to expire and if the President does not push for a continuation of these tax cuts, the economy may go into further malaise.  President Obama’s inaction on these expiring tax cuts is, in effect, the Obama Tax Increases of 2011.  Who would want to be running on the idea of tax increases this Fall?

As candidates see more and more poll numbers indicating the American people’s disappointment with the President, expect even liberal Democrats running for office to sprint away from public events with President Obama.   We have already witnessed some candidates missing events with the President and you should expect more of that in the coming months.  The bottom line is that President Obama’s policies are politically toxic for Democrats right now and if he does not right the ship quickly, he will pay a high political price.

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