On the eve of President Obama’s State of the Union Address, a new poll from Washington Post-ABC News shows that fully 63 percent of Americans have either little to no confidence Obama will make the right decisions. The public is evenly split on whether Obama is honest and trustworthy, with 49 percent of Americans answering in the affirmative, and 48 percent answering negatively.
A bare majority of Americans, 52 percent, feel Obama does not understand the problems of people like them – a shocking downward turn for Obama on an important likeability issue in which he dominated in 2012. A majority of Americans, 51 percent, also believe Obama is not a strong leader. His disapproval rating stands currently at 50 percent, with 41 percent disapproving strongly – only 23 percent support him strongly. 50 percent of Americans have an unfavorable impression of the president.
For perhaps the first time, Obama’s personal popularity seems to be suffering from his inability to govern effectively. He is not being damaged by the NSA scandal, for example – a solid 59 percent of Americans think Obama either went too far or was just right in how he changed NSA policy in the aftermath of surveillance revelations. Instead, his personal popularity is dropping – a shocking development for a president who has largely relied on that popularity to push forward policy.