Jackie Gingrich Cushman

June 21 is officially the first day of summer, but -- as happens during any election year -- the heat is going to set in well before then. It's going to be a long, hot spring and an even longer, hotter summer.

Unless things are going swimmingly, mid-term elections are never easy for the party of a sitting president. If they are not, then the inclination of the electorate is to split the power between the political parties of the president and the legislature. This means that the party opposite the president's political party gets a boost. In other words, this should be a good election year for Republicans.

A Washington Post-ABC News Poll, (conducted April 24-27, 1,000 adults, sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 points), released on Tuesday of this week provides data that back up this point.

President Obama's generic approval number is down. The poll noted that 41 percent polled approve of the way Obama is "handling his job as president," versus 52 percent who disapprove. When looking at registered voters, Obama's numbers get worse; 54 percent disapprove.

Obama's performance is broken into three categories: "the economy" (42 percent approve versus 54 percent disapprove); "the situation involving Russia and Ukraine" (34 approve versus 46 percent disapprove); and the way he is handling "the implementation of the new health care law" (37 percent approve versus 57 percent disapprove). In all three of these areas, the disapproval ratings go up when the sample is narrowed to registered voters only.

But wait: There is more bad news for the Democrats and President Obama. The people who feel strongly are more numerous among those who disapprove than among those who approve. The number of those who strongly disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy is 41 percent, versus 20 percent who strongly approve. Regarding the situation involving Russia and Ukraine, those who strongly disagree number 31 percent, versus 17 percent who strongly approve. In the implementation of the new health care law, 44 strongly disapprove versus 24 percent who strongly approve. In all three areas, the number of those who strongly disapprove nearly doubles the number who approve.

People who feel strongly tend to be more likely to give money, volunteer their time and turn out to vote in the midterm elections.

The feeling of disapproval extends beyond the president.

People are still strongly opposed to the federal mandated health care system, 24 percent strongly support it, versus 34 percent who strongly oppose. After implementation, only 24 percent believe that the "overall health care system in this country" is better, while 44 percent believe it is worse.


Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.