The political odds for the 2014 midterm elections have turned upside down. Barack Obama's polls are plummeting and the Republicans' approval numbers are rising again.
Suddenly, all those stories we've been reading over the course of 2013 about the demise of the GOP are looking shaky. Now, Obama and the Democrats are the ones in political trouble as they approach next year's elections.
The latest public opinion polls show Obama and his party getting much higher disapproval scores on issues that will be at the focus of next year's House and Senate elections: Obamacare, the economy and trust.
Despite the national news media's attempts to convince Americans that the economy is getting stronger, Tuesday's Washington Post's poll found that the public's perceptions are gloomy. Almost eight in 10 say the economy "remains in recession."
Indeed, more Americans now say they trust Republicans to do a better job of running the economy than Obama has done.
And he's lost substantial political support on his promise to protect and strengthen the middle class. A big 26-point advantage on this pledge a year ago has shrunk to just six points.
The blaring headline over the Post's front page poll story stunned the White House: "Obama's approval ratings plummet."
The subhead previewed what his declining numbers mean for his party: "Poll results worrisome for Democrats looking to midterm elections."
Here's how the Post, who backed Obama in 2008 and 2012, explained what its new survey found:
"President Obama is ending his fifth year in office matching the worst public approval ratings of his presidency, with record numbers of Americans saying they disapprove of his job performance and his once-hefty advantage over Republicans in Congress eroded in many areas."
When asked "do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling...his job as president," a higher 55 percent of Americans disapproved, compared to a 43 percent approval. A year ago, these numbers were nearly reversed.
A much larger 55 percent now disapprove of the way he's dealt with the economy, compared to 42 percent who still, inexplicably, approve of his policies.
Especially significant, Americans now say they trust the Republicans more than Obama -- 45 percent to 41 percent -- to do a better job on improving the economy.
In December of 2012, 54 percent trusted the president more, while only 32 percent trusted the GOP.