Our View: Lack of leadership?

Posted: March 6, 2013

Polls — whether of voter preference or, say, presidential job approval, but more so of the latter — represent a moment-in-time snapshot of public opinion, at best. As such, it does neither political pundits nor administration officials much good to rely on them too heavily.

Nonetheless, every now and again, an individual survey or a series of daily tracking polls merits eye-opener status. In our eyes, duly opened, this happened last weekend when Gallup’s presidential approval poll started tracking dramatically downward. Thus far this year, or pretty much since his re-election, President Obama had enjoyed a rating north of 50 percent. Just in the past two weeks, it seems, his approval stood as high as 56 percent. On Friday, though, it started plummeting — to the mid-40s.

What might account for this? Well, for starters, Bob Woodward’s revelation that the sequester, for which the White House is eager (naturally) to blame on Republicans, was actually the president’s idea. In addition, all the talk, however overblown, of West Wing economic heavyweight Gene Sperling “threatening” Mr. Woodward certainly didn’t help. Americans have long memories, and those of the iconic Mr. Woodward are certainly positive.

Still, we maintain there’s more to Mr. Obama’s sudden drop in approval than the tacky treatment of Mr. Woodward. Could it be that Americans, at least some of them, are finding the president’s deportment in the sequester controversy perplexing to the point of downright infuriating? All this Doomsday talk, we mean.

What’s more, could they be sensing, at long last, that this president much prefers campaigning to actual governing? A subtle hint that this may, in fact, be true: The watchdog group Common Cause’s entreaty to the White House to shelve its campaign apparatus and start governing. Common Cause is anything but a conservative standard-bearer.

Thus, is this eye-opening poll merely a reflection of American eyes truly opening — and Obama Fatigue setting in? Perhaps.