The president's key constituencies have lost faith amid economic gloom. On Thursday, he'll try one more time to pull everyone together.
This is Obama's last chance to alter the economic debate with congressional Republicans. This is his State of the Union speech, given five months ahead of schedule by a White House justifiably panicked by polling data that indicates Obama's credibility on job creation has cratered--and with it his attachment to key reelection constituencies.
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An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows 73 percent of respondents believe the country is on the "wrong track," the highest number in Obama's presidency. That number is within striking distance of the 78 percent registered in mid-October 2008, when the country was reeling from the financial meltdown and Obama was on the cusp of winning the presidency. The poll's wrong-track number has jumped 23 points since May, a sign of a potentially irreversible mood shift. What's more, the poll shows Obama has hit new lows on the economy. Thirty-seven percent approve of his performance, while 59 percent disapprove.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll found similar sentiments. But answers to one question buried in that poll might be the most telling: 47 percent said Obama's new economic program would have "no effect." If that wasn't bad enough, twice as many believe his plan would make matters worse than believe it will make them better--34 percent to 17 percent.