WASHINGTON -- The precipitous rise in Barack Obama's job disapproval numbers stunned the West Wing Monday and shook Democratic leaders. The president is getting failing scores on all of the politically pivotal issues: from a weak economy, high unemployment and skyrocketing gas prices to trillion-dollar budget deficits.
These are fundamental bread-and-butter election issues that have stopped Obama's momentum in his campaign for a second term and show no signs of improving anytime soon.
A nationwide Washington Post-ABC News poll revealed an angry electorate that is fed up with his presidency. Among his worst job disapproval numbers: 59 percent on the economy; 63 percent on the deficits; 65 percent on gas prices; and 52 percent on his hands-off handling of Iran's nuclear weapons threat.
What especially stunned Obama campaign strategists this week was the president's declining support among independents, who will likely decide who wins the election. Fifty-seven percent of them disapprove of his handling of the economy.
After that blow struck the White House in the morning, it took another big hit that night when a CBS-New York Times poll was released that said Obama's overall job approval rating had plummeted to 41 percent. Forty-seven percent said they disapproved of the job he was doing.
It was a sharp downfall for the president. A month ago, a CBS poll gave Obama a 50 percent approval score.
Notably, the Post's poll showed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney defeating Obama by 49 percent to 47 percent if the election were held today.
The Gallup Poll has shown Romney leading Obama by a much larger margin for several weeks -- 50 percent to 46 percent in its latest head-to-head matchup.
Obama's shrinking approval numbers on such a wide scope of issues showed that last month's unemployment report failed to impress voters. The reason: The massaged data coming out of Washington did not reflect the dismal job situation out in the real world.
Not only did the dubious 8.3 percent unemployment rate remain unchanged, there was significant evidence that for millions of Americans, the jobs picture had shown no improvement or had worsened.
The national news media ballyhooed the 227,000 new-jobs number, but the data behind that number showed that it was not all it was cracked up to be. Consider this dismal economic fact that The Washington Post buried in last week's story on the monthly job gains:
"The bulk of the job growth came in professional and business services, and more than half of those positions were in temporary employment."
Millions of discouraged workers are forced to work only part-time or fewer hours, when they need full-time jobs to make ends meet.