Obama Support in Free Fall?
Where Have All the Bumper Stickers Gone?
By Robb Austin
Politicians know the best supporters are those who are not afraid to be public about their support – putting a yard sign up or a bumper sticker on their car. This is a clear signal they are proud of who they like and want the world to know about it. During the 2004 presidential election, Democrats desperately wanted John Kerry to defeat President George W. Bush, and when he did not, supporters continued to brandish their Kerry bumper stickers long after the election was over.
It was not uncommon to see Kerry for President bumper stickers on cars for years afterward, as the disappointment over his loss never waned. Thus, it was no surprise after the 2008 presidential election of Barrack Obama for supporters to celebrate his victory in a public way – wearing shirts with his name on it or displaying a bumper sticker on the car. They were excited for his election, and had great expectations for his success.
This is the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s historic swearing-in. Yet in the past year things have changed, and displays of public support for President Obama are now muted. Many still hope for his success, and believe he is trying hard, yet there is an uneasy feeling he has not delivered on his campaign promises.
There is a proverbial saying: Success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan. This holds true in politics. As President Obama struggles to explain policies, which remain unpopular to a majority of voters, the overwhelming display of public support that once existed is now fading from view.
As his political troubles mount, his job approval ratings continue to decline, and some professional pollsters say they are headed for a free fall. The President remains popular with his core support base, namely African-Americans and far-left liberals, but he is no longer supported among independents and moderates.
While every President goes through periods of unpopularity, the fact remains that the historical aspect of the Obama election has worn off, and voters now expect him to deliver on his promises. His handling of health care is a good example; the country does not want the proposed changes, but the President and his congressional majority are crafting the legislation anyway. This is largely being done in secret- with few, if any, Americans knowing exactly what is in the health care package, or how it will affect them.
The legislation is being written by insiders and lobbyists in the backrooms of Washington; yet, the President campaigned on the promise that he would change the way Washington works, and pledged that his programs would be drafted in the open with input from voters. Now it has come to light that some lawmakers were offered secret sweetheart deals in exchange for their vote on health care, and this has made many voters suspicious and mistrusting of both Congress, and the President. There is no question President Obama has been damaged in the process- and while it is not too late for him to recover, the soaring expectations, which accompanied his election, are forever gone.
Voters are letting the President know, in various ways, what they think of the job he is doing, and their public display of support or disapproval, or lack thereof, is part of this process. The Obama bumper sticker, once so prevalent, seems to now be disappearing.