President Obama was overdue to look presidential as he did in his ISIS speech last Wednesday. However, early returns show no change in his approval numbers overall (42% average now) or in foreign policy (32% in WSJ/NBCpoll, 9-9-14; 34%, 9-13-14).
In a follow-up poll (9-13-14), the Wall Street Journal shows more than 62 percent of the public is supportive of the plan. But, 68 percent are skeptical it will work. If the plan has problems in implementation, Republicans and independents may fault him for poor leadership. Democrats, who are still mostly supportive of him, remain ambivalent toward more military action in the Middle East. Local Democrats, like Mark Udall and Andrew Romanoff, could suffer if the President’s leadership appears weak.
“The president is to some extent playing catch-up. The American people have moved in front of him,” 9NEWS political analyst Floyd Ciruli said. “Foreign policy could be an issue in a midterm election. That is fairly unusual. It happened in 2006. We were really angry with President Bush over the slow and agonizing course of the war in Iraq. This time it looks like it's moving in the opposite direction.”
The announcement of a strategy that has some preliminary support from Republicans could swing attention away from the speed of the response.
“We tend to rally behind our presidents when we feel there’s a crisis,” Ciruli said, with a nod the president’s sagging approval ratings. “I think there's a possibility that he could come out of this a lot better than he's been looking.”