Free Markets, Free People

Obama: Likeable but incompetent?

One of the enduring truths about national political elections in the US is you can’t win with just the support of your party base.  There just aren’t enough of them. Roughly 30% on the left consider themselves to be Democrats and about the same on the right call themselves Republicans.  Even if a candidate got every vote, he or she is going to be shy of the majority needed to win the office.   So another enduring truth is you must win the independent vote – that big, supposedly moderate 40% in the middle – to win an election.  That’s why you hear people talk about politicians “running to the middle”. 

So when you’re looking at a presidential race or polling, the most interesting demographic are the “independents”, because where ever they’re going or whatever they’re saying is likely to determine the election.

Since early last year, that demographic has been increasingly deserting the Democrats in general and Barack Obama specifically.  To put it succinctly, they’re not at all happy with the condition of the country, it’s direction or his policies even while many of them find Obama to still be likeable.

In 2008, Obama carried independents by a decisive 52% to 44% margin and took 30 states. In 2004, John Kerry narrowly won independents over George Bush 49% to 48%, reversing Bush’s 47% to 45% win against Al Gore in 2000.

In only nine of the last 32 months has the IBD/TIPP Presidential Leadership index been above 50, and the positive months were all in 2009. Since January 2010, the index has stayed in the negative territory (below 50). The averages were 57.5, 44.2 and 44.6 for 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively.

Independents also believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. Only 19% of them are satisfied with America’s direction and 80% are not satisfied.

But will likeable be enough in 2012?  Not likely.

An overwhelming share of independents (74%) like Obama personally, and 59% believe he has the vision to be president. A similar share (58%) also believe the president cares about the needs of people like them, and 59% think he’s worked hard to bring about change compared with 40% who say that he has mostly talked about it.

On the other hand, 62% disapprove of his policies, and by 63% to 35% they think he lacks the experience to be an effective president. A majority of independents (51%) do not believe that he is someone they would be proud to have as president; only 42% would be proud.

Reality is a stark reminder that performance, not rhetoric  is what counts.  And likeability will only carry you so far. Good intentions are laudable but only if they lead to solid results.  Also of note is most people are willing to give a politician a chance to accomplish things and are even appreciative of hard work and that the politician “cares”.  But the bottom line is that only results get someone re-elected.  To this point, Obama simply hasn’t provided those.  Independents may like him for the most part, but his job performance has not impressed the majority:

Only 15% give Obama an A or B for his handling of the economy, 16% give him good grades for managing the federal budget, and just 12% see him favorably for creating jobs and economic growth.

These low grades more than cancel out Obama’s non-economic successes, including the killing of Osama bin Laden. Nearly eight in 10 (79%) independents say his handling of the economy weighs more in their minds than getting the al-Qaida leader and mastermind of 9/11 (11%).

Funny and ironic … in his run for the presidency, his lack of a resume was probably his biggest strength.  What was to criticize?  What was there to assess?  He sounded great.

Now, on the other side of winning the presidency, he has to finally run on his record.   And, given this poll’s results, it isn’t a good one.


Twitter: @McQandO

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21 Responses to Obama: Likeable but incompetent?

  • This morning I saw the “GONE” with an Obama “O” bumpersticker on the web.  I suspect I’ll see more than a few on cars before Nov. ’12.

  • UNlikeable but incompetent.
    Who the hell likes an Obama-level narcissist…???

    • Just what I was thinking.

      I think this might be partially due to some PC thinking. Respondents are blasting him on performance, but they feel the need to find something good to say about him, lest they be thought raaaacist.

      I must admit something, though. Personally, at a visceral level, I was more repulsed by Bill Clinton’s used car salesman persona than Obama’s incompetent hectoring. He’s a bit like those characters standing on the ledges preaching in Life of Brian – kind of funny because people don’t take them seriously.

      If he does retain some shred of likability, then I suppose we have finally found one way he differs from our imbecilic political science professor. (Do you suppose he’s finally gotten tired of being pummeled, or does he just not have any coherent talking points to spew these days?) 

      • Funny you should juxtapose Bubba and Barry.  I find them very similar in several important respects, though they also differ in their manifestations of pathologies.  Pretty much the same root pathologies, however.
        Both, to me, repellent people on that visceral level you mention.  I hate liars, and both of them are that on an essential level.  At their very core.
        As to that race thing; yeah, how else do you explain it?  I suppose, in that regard, Holder and a point about a lot of us being cowards.  If you can’t express how you feel about somebody without it being filtered according to their race…well…
        As to Erp–I note a distinct ennui infecting the trollish end of the blog-o-sphere.  Almost like they can feel a tidal wave forming not-so-very far out at sea.

      • Ditto for me – I personally think the poll is bull crap.
        The people who ‘like’ him at this point are still not paying attention, or enjoying being abused.  How many people can say the like the guy at work who’s stock repertoire consists of stories about him, and his accomplishments.   Come on who wants to be scolded like a 4 year old and told to eat their peas?  Who wants to be told they’re racist when they really aren’t?
        How can THAT many freaking people ‘like’ this guy when he goes so out of his way in his off moments to let you know he’s smarter than you, and you’re a scumbag for not supporting whatever he wants to do?  How can you like a guy who seems to spend most of his time blaming others for what’s going on, and then has the balls to go off on a very very very regular basis for a vacation and a couple rounds of golf, JUST after he’s chewed you out for not being a team player and helping to fix things?
        WTF is there to like?

      • Personally, at a visceral level, I was more repulsed by Bill Clinton’s used car salesman persona than Obama’s incompetent hectoring.

        Quite! Though, Obama reminds me (actually, they both do) of overgrown kids that are attention starved.
        If I had “friends” like him, I’d burn my Rolodex.

      • I think this might be partially due to some PC thinking. Respondents are blasting him on performance, but they feel the need to find something good to say about him, lest they be thought raaaacist.
        Billy H: That’s my take too. My bet is that Obama’s poll numbers are even softer than they usually are for most Democrats. In 1980 the polls were too close to call leading up to election day and I sure was surprised the next morning that Reagan had won in a landslide.
        With the usual disclaimers I believe that 2012 is going to be terrible for Obama and the Democratic Party.
        Prof. Erb, chastened if not traumatized by the failure of his latest talking points, has retreated back in time to Martin Luther, Star Wars, and St Augustine.

    • Who the hell likes an Obama-level narcissist…???

      Peggy Noonan had a good column a few weeks back to the effect that no one loves Obama anymore. I think she’s right. Aside from isolated individuals, no one loves Obama since the Messiah effect wore off and the smell of flop sweat began to rise. When you get right down to it, Obama is cold, prickly and not all the likeable. He can’t inspire the human connection that even Nixon or Bush at their lowest ebbs could evoke in their loyal supporters.

  • “An overwhelming share of independents (74%) like Obama personally”

    I wonder what percentage of those are just afraid to admit they dislike a black man.

    • I think it may have been looker, but somebody here suggested the magic bullet…
      You are free to dislike Obama’s WHITE (or peach, as my children observed in their Crayola years) half.
      Let your resentment of the White Devil have full rein…!!!!

      • Hey,  he’s black? by identical extension, he’s white.

        • Well, I suppose the left can always fall back on the “single drop of blood” theory.

          After all, they have gotten other ideas from Southern cracker racists. Gun control for blacks (in the inner city in their case). Horrific inner city schools are a worse imitation of “separate but equal”.

          And then there’s Social Security, which forces black males to pay the same amount as everyone else, even though their shorter life spans mean they collect far less on average.

          Yep, it’s easy to see why they want to accuse everyone else of racism – as a defensive measure to obscure the fact that they practice it themselves.

          • “After all, they have gotten other ideas from Southern cracker racists”
            Gotten ideas from?  I refuse to let them pretend any more that they aren’t the party of political descendents of Southern Cracker racists.   Historically Southern Cracker Racist segregationists were largely Democrats.  Never, never, never, never let them forget that.
            I have always found a sickening irony in the ‘he’s black’ claim by virtue of appearance and genealogy that is, in essence, the very method used to keep those of mixed descent as much chattel as their purer blooded brethren were prior to the end of the Civil War.

      • Wait….
        I’m a peach European male?
        Is there a category for that on my tax return?

        • Last time I bought a gun, I selected “Pacific Islander” on the required form.  I figured I could dream, right?
          I barely got out of the store….

  • The chance to have dinner with the man on the “please don’t really think you’ll get an invite” scam donation plea e-mailing is down to as low as $3.00 a pop for the possible privilege.
    Think of it, only $3.00 a chance to have dinner with the Prez!
    Hmmmm, or, I can buy a 6 pack of MexiCoke for that and help stimulate both me and the economy a little more.

  • The market for Obama seems clearly to be discounted…

    The three dollar ho…???

  • “No one *I* know likes DudeIHate, clearly that poll is BS!” – overheard at the echo chamber 😉

    • No one hates the DudeILove, clearly the poll is true. – overheard at the echo chamber.  😉

  • I feel cheated I NEVER get surveyed or polled.  My opinion counts too you know I’ve got important things to say.  Just so you know I’m an independent and I strongly dislike Obama.  He is a manipulative fraud and is the most unpresidential president this country will ever have.  Lately people have been talking about Hillary Clinton as being likeable there’s no way that would’ve happened except for the even more negative Obama to compare Hillary to.

  • I am astonished at how comfortable Obama is at being a pretender. To say he is an empty suit would be to pay him a complement, as it would imply that he is merely incompetent. This trait, incompetency, by itself while troublesome, usually does not cause companies or nations to fear for their demise. But this is somehow different. It appears the man has no desire to actually understand the gravity of the mess he has created. It seems that he is aware of his complete inability to perform the job, but that he just somehow knows that he does not have to be concerned. The policy speeches appear like so many pop up wack-a-moles, calculated to keep the observer confused, disoriented. They carry not so much the intent of a man who wishes to help the nation recover, but more the muffled insane laughter of a staff hiding in a back room, amused that the political right even makes an attempt to decode. We are in serious trouble.
    Certainly independet voters will probably allow us to gracefully escort him to the stage door, where beyond waits a library, speaking fees, and other abominations. But what about the league of malevolent followers that he has unleashed upon the nation? What will we do with them. He has promised his “people”, an imaginary rag tag band of the “impovershed” that they have a right to the bread from the tables of others. He has created this fiction out of whole cloth. But they are here now and we will have to face them. We will need a new president of historic proportions, not unlike our historical remembrance of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln.