The ratings’ steady decline isn’t surprising. So long as Republicans remain uniformly dissatisfied with the president, Democrats need to be all but entirely unified for Obama’s approval ratings to eclipse 50 percent. Even support from 85 percent of Democrats, still an impressive show of party unity, wouldn’t be enough to keep the rating above 50. (YouGov/Economist and Washington Post polls both show Obama down to 87 percent approval among Democrats, while McClatchy/Marist showed Obama at 82 percent.) With tepid economic growth and a never-ending stream of manufactured crises to diminish the public’s faith in Washington, Obama wasn’t likely to maintain that kind of party unity. Even without those problems, it was only a matter of time before Obama’s ratings returned to the upper forties, which is more or less where he’s been for the last three years, with only the debt ceiling crisis causing his numbers to dip further. So it’s safe to assume that what we’re witnessing is merely a modest correction rather than the beginning of a severe drop in support.
(Chart from TPM)