Although there are numerous reasons offered by pundits for President Obama’s low 40 percent approval, the strongest correlation is between the onslaught of legislation beginning in February 2009 and the first clear signs of approval rates dropping in June, five months later.
Liberals argue any reason but the former Speaker Nancy Pelosi-driven legislative push. Although, some have argued that Obama focusing on the legislative struggle was at best distraction, and at worst highlighted conflict and the President’s partisan position. But, one piece of data points strongly to the shift in Obama’s ideology image to the left as a major driver in his approval decline. Voters who believed Obama was a moderate liberal were unhappily surprised to witness the aggressive government program. He became a big government, big-spending liberal as the stimulus, financial regulation, cap and trade, and health care bills solidified in their minds. His liberal pro-government image is now set. Ironically, liberals are increasingly unhappy with him because he hasn’t promoted even more government spending and interventions.
The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News and Washington Post/ABC News polls confirm that while the public remains more conservative than liberal, Obama is seen as more liberal than conservative.