Early polling indicates that the debt ceiling deal President Obama negotiated with Congressional Republicans has significantly hurt him with voters. From Quinnipiac:
Florida voters surveyed after the deal say 50 – 42 percent that Obama does not deserve to be reelected, compared to a 47 – 46 percent split before the deal and 50 – 44 percent support for his reelection May 26.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the leading Republican challenger in the 2012 presidential race, ties Obama 44 – 44 percent post-deal, compared to a 46 – 41 percent Obama lead pre-deal. Obama has double-digit leads over other top Republicans pre-deal and post-deal, except for Texas Gov. Rick Perry who trails Obama 44 – 39 percent post-deal.
The serious political damage for the President came from a massive drop in support among independents. Right before the deal was announced, Obama’s job approval among independents was 42% approve – 52% disapprove. Right after the deal, it dropped dramatically to just 33% approve – 66% disapprove.
What is interesting about Obama’s large drop in support among independents is that independents felt Obama behaved more responsibly in the negotiations than the Republicans, and felt that way by a margin of 47%-36%.
I think this goes to a core flaw in the Obama campaign’s appeal to independents. The campaign is trying to sell Obama to independents as the “adult” who can bring post-partisan harmony to Washington. The problem is the Republicans have the power to make this campaign promise look idiotic by simply making every political fight very ugly and rejecting all compromises.
These ugly fights make everyone in Washington look bad, but also create the added problem of making it impossible for the President to deliver on what he is promising.