Guy Benson
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Last month, the White House decided to attempt to reboot the national narrative by pivoting (once again) to the economy.  In order to do so, they had to turn the page on the scandals that have hampered the president's agenda and invigorated his opposition since the Spring.  Thus was born the ham-fisted "phony scandals" talking point, which was insulting on its face and has gone over...not so well.  (Ahem).  Nevertheless, the president was determined to remind Americans just how much he cares about their economic well being.  The key to telegraphing this message, Team Obama decided, was to rehash old policy ideas in new speeches, laden with endless mentions of "the middle class."  The messaging blitz is over, and the president is on vacation.  How has the moar speechz! game plan panned out?  Fresh from Gallup:


Despite President Barack Obama’s renewed focus on the nation’s economy this summer, crisscrossing the country to talk about job creation, he scores worse with Americans on the economy than he did in June. His approval rating on the issue, now 35%, is down seven percentage points, and his ratings on taxes and the federal budget deficit are each down five points. During the same period, his overall approval rating is down three points. In fact, out of seven issues for which Obama’s job performance was rated in the new poll and in June, only the three economy-related ones fell significantly. These are also his lowest issue approval ratings of the nine total issues measured this month.


His overall approval rating is limping along at 44 percent, and things get worse from there.  Obama's numbers dipped in every single category measured, sustaining the biggest hits on economy-related issues.  One wonders if the fact that household incomes are down during this 'recovery' while 97 percent of all net job growth in 2013 is attributable to part-time hiring may be driving these figures: 



The only issues on which Obama attracts majority approval are terrorism (barely, at 50 percent), and race relations (at a paltry 51 percent).   He's underwater by 27 percentage points (35/62) on the economy, and sits at just 36 percent approval on taxes as he demands more increases -- despite having secured his "tax hikes on the rich."  The nation's budget deficit continues to be his weakest issue, on which he garners just 26 percent support.  Believe it or not, he's actually bragging about recent projections that this year's deficit will "only" be in the ballpark of $800 billion.  Meanwhile, the national debt continues to swell, even as the Treasury Department takes "extraordinary measures" to artificially freeze the astronomical figure.  Also note the president's marks on immigration and healthcare.  He's mired in the high 30's on both topics.  On the latter question, the president has also done quite a lot of talking recently, apparently to no avail.   While his support on healthcare hasn't plunged quite as much as one might assume based on, oh, all ofthesedevelopments, the reason behind the limited erosion is a very weak starting point.  Put bluntly, there isn't much room to fall from the low-40s.  Today's news brings more upheaval and bloodshed in Egypt, where the Wall Street Journal reports, "US influence with Cairo wanes."  The president's foreign affairs number is already scraping 40 percent.  Could that rating be heading further south?  Obama interrupted his Martha's Vineyard retreat to make a statement on the chaos this morning.  Given his bruising summer slump in advance of several looming budget battles, perhaps the president would prefer to just stay on vacation.

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Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography