The new Wall Street Journal poll shows President Obama with a slight lead over Mitt Romney, 47 percent to 44 percent. Nothing new there; it’s a tight race.
But one point in the poll has not received enough attention. When the Journal’s pollsters asked respondents whether they have positive, neutral, or negative feelings toward Obama, the president’s positive rating has been below 50 percent now for 20 out of the last 24 months.
This month, 29 percent say they have very positive feelings toward Obama, while 19 percent say they have a somewhat positive feelings toward him — at total of 48 percent. Fourteen percent say they are neutral, while 11 percent have somewhat negative feelings toward the president and 27 percent have very negative feelings toward him.
In the Journal’s polls, Obama has been at 50 percent or higher in the positive category just four times since March 2010: In January of this year; in May 2011, after the successful raid to kill Osama bin Laden; in April 2011, and in January, 2011.
Prior to March, 2010, Obama regularly scored above 50 percent positive in the Journal’s measure of feelings toward the president. Of course, March, 2010 just happens to be the month in which Obama’s signature achievement as president, the national health care program known as Obamacare, made it through Congress. When it comes to popularity, Obamacare has been below 50 percent for most of the time since that day, and so has the president who signed it into law.