|President Obama, AP photo|
His all-time average low was on December 2, 2013 when his approval was 39.8 percent and disapproval 55.9 percent, or a 16.1 percent negative gap. This, of course, was the result of the administration’s roll-out of the Affordable Care Act.
Obama recovered in early 2014 to the mid-40s (44.7% on April 21), but has since retreated to the low 40s. His average approval today is 46.6 percent and is accompanied by a 54.9 percent disapproval, producing a 13.3 percent negative gap.
Key elements in the recent slide are ACA disapproval is up, his foreign policy approval down and immigration disapproval up.
One theory is that Obama can’t go below a floor of 40 percent unless he starts to lose Democrats because of polarization and core support levels; i.e., liberals, minorities and hardcore Democrats. But, some recent polls have him in at or below 40 percent approval.
It is unlikely much will change before Election Day. So the observation that Obama is no help for vulnerable senate candidates remains. If his numbers stay the same, the forecasters predict a Republican pick-up between 4 and 6 seats and the chance of a 6-seat win for control of the Senate at only slightly better than 50-50.