The collapse has many causes and some dramatic effects. And, it is a complete reversal of White House expectations, which were to dominate Washington in 2013 with an aggressive liberal agenda and to defy the more common result of final midterm elections and pick up seats in the House next year.
Obama had slightly negative approval ratings most of the summer of 2012 leading up to the fall campaign, but at the end of the Democratic Convention (September), he entered into a positive approval trend that topped out at 12 points of approval over disapproval during the Christmas season. It was a 9-point spread at his inaugural, but began a steady decline, hitting lows of one point in early April and finally turning negative May 29 under the weight of harsh criticism for a myriad of scandals.
The President’s 2013 decline has continued even though the economy has improved, if unevenly. Among the factors pulling him down are the continued partisan gridlock and its ability to frustrate his agenda, and now the distraction of scandals that are overwhelming the White House, especially after the high expectations from the “no drama” Obama operation of the first four years.
The main affect will be to place in jeopardy the Obama strategy of a permanent campaign using money and talent from the November re-election to lobby for his agenda and to ignite the base for the midterm. Next sign of more problems for Obama will be if Democrats running for election and up for re-election start to criticize as much as praise and begin to look for some distance. Watch for it.