A new Washington Post / ABC poll adds another coat of paint to the portrait that's emerging for this November: President Obama's popularity is falling, Obamacare is unpopular, and voters would like a Republican Congress that can keep Obama in check. But all of those points have important caveats.
First, the toplines, as presented by Gary Langer of Langer Research, which conducted the survey. Emphasis added.
- "Obama’s job approval rating, after a slight winter rebound, has lost 5 points among all adults since March, to 41 percent, the lowest of his presidency by a single point."
- "Americans rate the condition of the economy negatively by 71-29 percent – the least bad since November 2007, but still dismal by any measure."
- He adds: "Among people who see the economy improving, 65 percent prefer Democratic control of Congress, while among those who see the economy as stagnant or worsening, 62 percent favor Republican control."
- Obamacare "gets 44 percent support, down 5 points; Obama has just 37 percent approval for its implementation, down 7."
- "Registered voters by 53-39 percent in the national survey say they’d rather see the Republicans in control of Congress as a counterbalance to Obama’s policies"
Bad news for Democrats.
Langer points out something important about Obama's approval, a point noted by Gallup in 2012: "Economic discontent remains the driving element in political views." There is a correlation between Obama's approval and economic confidence. Langer's data shows a similar link over the course of Obama's presidency. (Below: those who strongly or somewhat approve of Obama's job performance and of his handling of the economy.)