It’s only one poll, but if the new data from CNN’s national survey is part of a larger shift in public attitudes, the White House has a problem. Though President Obama’s standing seemed largely unaffected by the Scandal Mania coverage from several weeks ago, the tide appears to have turned – CNN shows the president’s approval rating dropping sharply to 45%, its lowest point since late 2011.
What’s more, the same poll showed an even sharper drop when respondents were asked whether Obama is “honest and trustworthy” – 49% is the lowest rating of his presidency on this question.
To date, there’s no evidence the president said or did anything misleading in any of the various controversies, but two weeks of “Obama is reading your emails and listening to your phone calls” discussion, even if that’s not quite accurate, will invariably take a toll.
But I found especially interesting was House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) reaction to the new polling data.
“Certainly I would think it’s troubling for the President the fact that half the American people now don’t think that the President is trustworthy and honest,” Cantor said on CNN’s “New Day.”
“What they’re witnessing is a Washington and a government that has abused its power, and frankly has lost focus on the issue that most Americans care about, which is getting people back to work.”
First, if Cantor has any evidence that the administration has “abused its power,” he should certainly share it with the rest of us. Indeed, as best as I can tell, Cantor supports the NSA surveillance programs, which makes his on-air criticism rather odd.
Second, if “getting people back to work” is what “most Americans care about,” perhaps Cantor can explain why he and his caucus have passed zero jobs bills in three years, and will be spending this week working on an anti-abortion bill for no reason.
And third, Obama’s standing has apparently taken a hit, but he’s roughly five times more popular than the institution Cantor works in.
If unstated abuses of power have undermined the president’s popularity, what would Cantor say his excuse is for Congress reaching polling depths unseen since the dawn of modern polling?