A recent batch of polls reveal that President Obama's job approval has remained steady over the last two months despite his presiding over the biggest environmental catastrophe in our nation's history. Why might that be?
First, consider the evidence. Checking realclearpolitics.com's presidential job approval index of major polls, Obama's job approval on June 18 stood at 48.1 percent, virtually equal to his 47.9 percent rating on April 23, the day of the spill. His disapproval rating has also changed very little on average, moving to 47.4 on June 18 from 46.9 on April 23.
Tom Bevan at realcearpolitics.com notes that on specific questions regarding the oil spill, Obama's rating has shifted recently in a decidedly negative direction. So why isn't that reflected in his overall job approval ratings?
Two reasons suggest themselves. First, Obama has BP to thank for his job approval stability. BP has primary responsibility for the spill and response, and the blame is readily shifted to them -- as Obama has done. A large multinational corporation is a convenient presidential punching bag. The public has by now learned much about the spill and apparently had decided that Obama does not merit sufficient blame to deserve lower job approval.