Popularity Contests and The State Of The Union

“We’re going to see if we’ve got some straight-shooters in Congress. You say you’re the party of tax cuts. Prove you’ll fight as hard for tax cuts for working families as for oil companies and most affluent Americans.” A combative Obama gearing up for his impromptu Sate of The Union Address

 Mr. Obama told a crowd estimated at 12,000 people, mostly union workers from Detroit,” that Congress needed to put people back to work and extend his payroll tax cuts“. The president continues on his tact of stepping aside and blaming congress for the county’s unemployment problems. How this will ultimately play out is anyone guess, but banking on the breath of his popularity may not be a good ploy for the Democratic party.

The president’s popularity, easy going, smart and well spoken, is wearing thin with his base as well as voters on the margins of Mr. Obama’s influence. Union voters, once the backbone of his base, have begun to drift away. Among blue collar workers his disapproval reached 56% last month and with women voters his ratings are worse. Some 56% of women voters supported Mr. Obama in the 2008 election, now 43% back his election. Two-thirds of Hispanics voted for Obama in 2008 and now barely a majority of 51% say they will vote for him. Obama voters among whites has dropped from 43% to 31% and his independent base has all but collapsed.

Blaming congress this late in the game may not be the best idea to base a reelection campaign on. If the president can show solid ideas, leadership and drop the divisive rhetoric, his reelection chances might improve but betting the farm on a popularity contest is not a good idea.