About Those Approval Numbers

Jedediah Bila, Red Eye, 11-21-12By Jedediah Bila

This morning I stumbled upon a column at The Hill titled “Obama honeymoon may be over.” It begins:

The second-term honeymoon for President Obama is beginning to look like it is over.

Obama, who was riding high after his reelection win in November, has seen his poll numbers take a precipitous fall in recent weeks.

A CNN poll released Tuesday showed Obama’s favorability rating underwater, with 47 percent approving and 50 percent disapproving of Obama’s handling of his job.

Over the course of the last month or so, I have seen several columns discussing Obama’s shrinking approval numbers and have received plenty of phone calls and emails about them. Do the numbers tell me that the public isn’t as satisfied with Obama as he’d like them to be? Sure.

However, the numbers don’t tell me that the American public prefers the Republican alternative.

President Obama won re-election amid horrific economic numbers. He didn’t win because people were as enamored with him as they were in 2008. He won because despite his policy shortcomings, voters still believed he was the better option. And until that changes, Obama’s approval numbers really don’t matter all that much.

The GOP knows it’s in trouble, which is why the RNC put forth the Growth and Opportunity Project, acknowledging weaknesses in outreach, messaging, communications, campaign data collection, marketing, and other areas that need to be addressed. It is also why a serious conversation about immigration policy is happening, led by two potential 2016 presidential candidates, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. And it is one of the reasons why the issue of gay marriage, an issue that many young people are very passionate about, has taken center stage. Trends in the county have shifted when it comes to certain issues–gay marriage and immigration, in particular–and the GOP is trying to figure out how to approach those shifts.

I’m not a Republican, but I am happy to see the party acknowledging strategy weaknesses and being realistic about voting patterns on key issues. I’m not telling the GOP what to stand for; however, I do think they need to be clear about what they do stand for. They need to make up their minds. And when they run candidates, they need to be committed to the kind of messaging and outreach that can actually score a win.

If the Republican Party wants a shot at beating the next Democrat presidential candidate, it’s not Obama’s approval numbers they should be looking at. It’s their own.

Follow Jedediah on Twitter @JedediahBila

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Georgia Landrum
9 years ago

Did you overlook the fact that almost 1/2 the country is dependent on the government for food, housing, monthly checks, etc. That buys a lot of votes. Mr. Romney did not visit my state either but did not keep him from winning our state. The crazy electoral college system that discounts the many states other than Ohio, PA. etc. makes the rest of us seem irrelevant. This discourages voting in many states. Also we need picture ID laws, just the slightest chance that we have fraud in our election system (Acorn anyone?) makes me shudder to think we could be like third world countries with no control by the people over their elections.
Georgia Landrum

9 years ago

“If the Republican Party wants a shot at beating the next Democrat presidential candidate, it’s not Obama’s approval numbers they should be looking at. It’s their own.”

This is so very true! The GOP leadership needs to realize that people like Rand and Rubio can articulate the value of the conservative message better, because they actually believe in it. This is in sharp contrast to the so-called “electable candidates” the GOP leadership keeps putting up every four years. That practice has to stop. The message isn’t new, but rather both Rand and Rubio, as well as Cruz, Johnson and some others discuss in ways that demonstrate the benefits conservatism bring to the lives of ordinary people. That is what is needed to build support for the GOP, not turning the Party into Democrat-lite, which I fear is what the GOP leadership thinks will win them votes in 2016.

Rather than the old guard of the Republican Party criticizing the new voices of the GOP, they should try to learn something from them. Outside of Washington, no one cares that someone has been a Senator for 20, 30 or 40 years. What people want is someone who can provide them with a path to better opportunities and a better life. If the Party insists in putting up another moderate or progressive “electable” candidate in 2016, instead of an actual conservative, who can articulate the real-world benefits of conservatism to the general public, then we’ll be doomed to wondering how we lost yet another presidential election.

Just my two cents.

Douglas hudgins
9 years ago

You hit the nail on the head that time Jedediah!

9 years ago

Wondered why Republicans never came to Washington State. We have many Republicans but we’re labeled a blue state and a Democrat state. We have many Hispanics, small business owners, etc., but yet we were overlooked by Romney. It was very sad to see that happen.

9 years ago
Reply to  Cappy

Much of the northeast was written off as well.

9 years ago

Great piece, hope GOP listens to you.

9 years ago


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